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Thanks to the magnanimous resolution of the 
Emperor — King Francis Joseph — the remains of 
Francis Rakoczi II. were brought home to Hungary 
in 1906. For 170 years they had lain in foreign 
soil, at Rodosto in Turkey, now they have found 
their eternal rest in the cathedral of Kassa. 

The occasion was one of grateful emotion and 
rejoicing in Hungary. The manifestations of these 
feelings drew also the attention of the foreign 
press to the memory of the man and the part he 
had played in Hungarian history. It was then 
that I discovered that there was no history written 
in English on Francis Rakoczi and the great 
national movement which he provoked and led. 
Yet for the time he and his cause were most im- 
portant although disturbing factors in the policy of 
England, nobody worked harder or more sincerely 
for an accommodation between Rakoczi and his 
sovereign, who was England's ally, than her Minister 
in Vienna, and his despatches remain until to-day 
one of the main sources for the history of the first 
stage of the struggle. 




I have spent over thirty years of my life between 
England and the United States of America, and 
thus conceived the wish to narrate to Anglo-Saxon 
readers who Rakoczi was, what he really did, and 
why, in spite of his struggle ending in defeat, his 
memory is cherished by his nation. 

I have no aim and no desire beyond writing a 
merely historical tale. Deep in the ground rest 
the bones of the Austrian and Hungarian soldiers 
fallen in Rakoczi's war. May all the issues that 
divided them lie as profoundly buried. Yet it is 
evident that the lesson to be derived from those 
days stands for all times. The long struggle ended 
with a compromise. It would have been well for 
Austria if her statesmen, understanding the neces- 
sity of the latter, would have avoided the outbreak 
of the former, and it would have been as well for 
Hungary and still better for Rakoczi if he had 
concluded the compromise when at the height of 
his power he could have done so voluntarily. 

The present volume gives the history of the 
movement up to this moment, viz. till the breaking 
off of the peace negotiations in 1706. It is the 
history of the uprising on its upward plane. I 
hope to be able to continue the work and bring it 
to its natural ending with the Peace of Szathmar in 
a second volume. 

The sources from which I have drawn my 
material are cited in the footnotes. I cannot let 
this occasion go by without thanking M. de 



Karolyi, Director of the Imperial and Royal Archives 
in Vienna, for the friendly courtesy with which he 
has helped me in my researches. Thanks to him, 
I have been able to make use of hitherto unknown 
documents. At the same time I must mention 
that the Austrian sources for the period flow very 
scarcely. While, thanks to the literature of memoirs 
and letter collections, the figures of the French and 
English historical actors of the period stand vividly 
before us, and the same is even the case with 
Rakoczi, Bercsenyi, and other Hungarian leaders, 
there are no Austrian memoirs of the times. The 
private letters of her statesmen, ministers, and 
generals lie as yet unexplored in family archives, 
and in consequence their individual figures are less 
marked out before us than those of their foreign 


No European country has a history more dramatic 
in its vicissitudes than that of Hungary, nor one 
better worth studying for the political lessons which 
may be drawn from its alternations of independence 
and of depression under foreign rule. Its ancient 
constitution, resembling in not a few points our 
own, is full of interest ; and the struggles caused by 
attempts to overthrow and efforts to maintain that 
constitution have been even longer and fiercer than 
those which distracted England in the seventeenth 
century. Yet Hungarian history is very little 
known in England or in America. No eminent 
writer has, so far as I know, produced in our 
language any treatise adequately presenting the 
annals of the Magyar nation, nor does any transla- 
tion of a complete history by a native authority 
seem to have been published here. When, there- 
fore, a distinguished man — who is not only a 
historical scholar but has also the advantage of a 
wide and varied experience in the world of affairs 
— offers to us a narrative of a momentous epoch 
in the story of his country's life, his work cannot 

but be welcome to English and American students. 




Whoever has travelled through Hungary must 
have heard, and having heard, must remember, a 
martial air constantly played by the string bands of 
gipsy musicians who wander over the country. Of 
all the strains that have led men into battle there 
is none with such a power to stir the spirit as the 
Rakoczi March stirs it. Even the Marseillaise is 
not so charged with fire and passion. This air is 
named from Francis Rakoczi, and commemorates 
him better than any monuments of stone, for it is 
always sounding in Hungarian ears. Among those 
heroes of whom the soil of his fatherland has been 
so fertile he can hardly be counted the greatest, and 
his leadership of the nation, gallant as it was, is 
associated with as many defeats as victories. But 
he was a man of many engaging qualities and of a 
noble soul ; not unduly elated by success, not un- 
duly depressed by misfortune ; a man faithful to 
his word, loyal to his country and his friends, and 
one who could bear with dignity the long weariness 
of exile. The Magyars have always cherished his 
memory ; and a well-deserved honour was paid to 
it when, in 1906, the Hungarian Government, with 
the consent of the monarch against whose ancestors 
he had fought, brought back his remains to be 
interred in his native soil. 

The history of the struggle against the House of 
Habsburg, which Rakoczi led, has a double interest 
for the student of modern European history, one 
interest which belongs to the general stream of 



that history and another which touches Hungary 
in particular. Its phases of varying good and evil 
fortune were interwoven with the contemporane- 
ously varying fortunes of France and the Germanic 
Empire in the great War of the Spanish Succession, 
which was blazing over Europe from 1701 till 1714. 
Lewis XIV profited by the diversion which the 
attacks of the Hungarians on the Austrian dominions 
created, and gave aid, though in far too scanty 
measure, to Rakoczi's treasury. The envoys of 
England, then allied to the Emperor, who were 
sent to Vienna to try to arrange a general peace, 
proceeded to Rakoczi's Court, and were favourably 
impressed by him and those who surrounded him, 
while the strength of the constitutional case 
which they were defending against the Emperors 
Leopold I. and Joseph I., as Kings of Hungary, 
roused their sympathy. Had Lewis been a little 
more energetic or the Habsburgs a little more 
accommodating, the English efforts would have 

For the fortunes of Hungary, Rakoczi's war was of 
great and permanent significance. For himself, in- 
deed, it ended sadly, and it obtained for the Magyars 
at the Peace of Szathmar in 171 1 less than they had 
fought for. Yet it saved the national liberties from 
the extinction which had threatened them, it secured 
a large measure of religious freedom, it kept alive 
that flame of patriotism which rose into a stronger 
flame in the first half of the nineteenth century. 


In the age of which this book treats the spirit 
of nationality was at a low ebb in almost every 
part of the European Continent. In Hungary, 
however, thanks largely to the attachment of the 
people to their ancient constitution, it was an active 
force, strong enough to override the antagonism of 
Roman Catholics and Calvinists, and so to unite 
the great bulk of the nation in defence of their 
time-honoured rights. The years of effort during 
which Rakoczi led the resistance to the absolutistic 
and levelling Habsburg policy gave an impulse to 
national sentiment which was never thereafter lost. 
Passionate under Kossuth in the revolution of 
1848-49, that sentiment gave a firm and steady 
support to Francis Deak in the long constitutional 
struggle which began in 1861, and which he guided 
to victory in 1867, winning back for Hungary all 
that the patriots of Rakoczi's day claimed. Those 
who would understand the character of one of the 
most gallant and forceful among European peoples, 
a race diverse in blood, in language, and in tradi- 
tions from the Germans, Slavs, and Roumans that 
surround them, a race whose peculiar charm every 
one who has traversed their land loves to recall, 
will be grateful to the author of this book for the 
fresh light which it throws on one of the most 
striking episodes in the chequered and romantic 
annals of Hungary. 



It is well for the English-speaking world to get a 
better perspective of history than it is possible to 
get without a far more thorough knowledge of the 
history of Central and Eastern Europe than can 
be obtained without such books as this, which we 
owe to the erudition and the profound and faith- 
ful study and the patriotic feeling of Baron von 
Hengelmliller. The ordinary English or American 
student, for instance, is absolutely ignorant that 
during the middle years of the seventeenth century, 
when in his eyes Cromwell was the one figure in 
Europe, the Eastern third of Europe, all Slavonic 
Europe, was shaken to its foundations by the 
Cossack uprising of Khmielnitski against the Poles, 
an event of incalculable consequence to the after- 
time history of Poland and Russia. To the dwellers 
in the forests, the steppes, and the marshy plains 
between the Carpathians and the Urals, the Baltic 
and the Black Sea, Khmielnitski's feats and fate 
were of more consequence than Cromwell's. In 
the same way the average Englishman or American, 

to whom Marlborough is one of the leading figures 




of all time, is absolutely ignorant of the far-reaching 
part played during the years that were most event- 
ful in Marlborough's career by the great Hungarian 
national leader whose life-work is described in this 

No European people has a history more striking 
and interesting than that of Hungary. When in 
the ninth century the wild Magyar horsemen burst 
from the Volgan Steppes into Middle Europe, there 
was nothing to indicate that their history would 
differ from that of the Avars who had preceded 
them, or the Cumans who came after them. They 
were a non-Aryan Asiatic race of pastoral nomads, 
and the flood of their invasion in its first effects 
upon Europe was similar to the many invasions 
of Finnish, Turkish, and Mongol tribes, which 
lasted from the time of the Hun till the time of 
the Ottoman. For a century or over the Magyars 
appeared merely as devastating hordes, who seated 
themselves on the necks of the Slavs, who rode 
across Italy and up the Rhone, and before whom 
the Germans cowered in terror. The victories of 
Otto and Henry the Fowler freed the Germans 
from Magyar supremacy, and the Magyars then 
proceeded to settle down in the countries they had 
won, and to organize a permanent society of the 
European type. The conversion of the people to 
Christianity in its Latin form, and the adoption, of 
what was substantially the feudal form of govern- 
ment, immediately changed Hungary into a member 



of the international world which centred around 
the Pope, and to a less degree around the Kaiser, 
as representing their ideals of Church and State. 
The governmental growth of Hungary offers un- 
limited possibilities of interest to the student. The 
famous Golden Bull, the charter of Hungarian 
liberties, is a document of almost as much interest 
as the great charter signed at Runnymede at about 
the same time. The transformation of the Magyars 
from wild and heathen Asiatic nomads into the 
magnates and warriors of a European kingdom 
wedded to a European polity had, among its other 
results, the establishment of Hungary as a bulwark 
against further Asiatic invasion of Europe. When 
the Mongols trampled the Slavonic peoples under 
their horses' hoofs, and overthrew the knighthood of 
Germany in Silesia, they also conquered Hungary 
and spent their last aggressive strength in the 
effort. Later, for a couple of centuries, Hungary 
stood as the barrier between Central Europe and 
the Turk — and scant was the gratitude it received 
from Central Europe in return. Finally, early in 
the sixteenth century, at the fatal battle of Mohacz, 
Hungarian liberty was lost and the Turk reigned 
supreme until the days of the great commander, 
Eugene of Savoy. 

The Austrian steadily warred to drive the Turk 
from Hungary. Unfortunately this warfare was 
carried on so purely for the aggrandizement of 
Austria* itself that the Hungarian was perplexed 



to know whether the Turk or the German was his 
most dangerous foe and his hardest taskmaster. 
To racial was added in many cases reHgious 
antagonism. The South German was a Catholic, 
and many of the Hungarians were Protestants, 
the Protestant Magyars being Calvinists, while 
the Protestants among the Slavs who followed the 
Magyar lead were generally Lutherans. Very often 
the leading Hungarian patriots were thrown into 
the arms of the Turks, the enemies of Christendom, 
by the narrow and repressive policy of which they 
were the victims ; and therefore very often they 
were of the highest usefulness to Austria's enemies, 
whether at Constantinople or Paris. 

The great career of Rakoczi took place during 
the years when England, Austria, and Holland 
had united to curb the domineering ambition of 
the great monarch, Louis the Fourteenth of France. 
Rakoczi's revolt was therefore a matter of the 
gravest concern to the cabinet of London no less 
than of the cabinet of Vienna. His struggle ended 
at the moment in military defeat, yet he won for 
his nation a political recognition which was of vital 
consequence to Hungary in the future. All wise 
and far-seeing men earnestly hope for the continua- 
tion of the Dual Empire, the Empire Kingdom in 
which the same man is Emperor of Austria and 
Apostolic King of Hungary. All need for bitter- 
ness between Hungary and Austria has passed, 
and the bitterness will surely vanish if the statesmen 



and people of the two nations will but work together 
in a spirit of mutual respect and hearty goodwill 
one to the other. There is no need of dwelling 
upon the past with any purpose save to pay a just 
meed of tribute to valour and sagacity, and to 
furnish lessons by which the statesmen of the 
present can profit. This is the spirit in which 
Baron von Hengelmliller has written. He has a 
great theme ; he is writing of a great man and a 
great people, at a time when the life of the man 
marked a crisis in the life of the people. He is 
peculiarly fit to lay this history before the English- 
speaking public, for he is thoroughly acquainted 
with the habits of thought both of the Englishman 
and the American, and his long experience as 
Austrian Ambassador at Washington has qualified 
him to understand the people whose interests he 
desires to attract in a way that is given to but few 
men of Continental Europe. He has written a 
book of far-reaching historical importance, and one 
that should peculiarly appeal to every cultivated 
man among the English-speaking peoples. 






A survey of the relations between Hungary and Austria. 

Part I. 1526-1657 — Part II. 1657-1700 . . . i 


Rakoczi's early life — The inherent difficulties of his position — 
Friendship with Bercsenyi and plans for a Hungarian 
uprising — Imprisonment, trial, escape, and exile in Poland 79 


The return and beginning of the Hungarian revolution — Early 
adhesions; Ocskay, Karolyi — Rapid growth — Events 
from June to December 1 703 . , . . .106 


First negotiations for peace ; EngHsh and Dutch mediation ; 
the situation in Europe — The Emperor's military forces 
and financial resources ; the Imperial Commanders in 
Hungary, Heister and Palffy . . . . .145 


Heister's campaigns and barren victories — Forgach's mission 
and defection — Rakoczi's election in Transylvania — The 
battle of Hochstadt (Blenheim) and its effect on Hungary 
— Armistice and first formal conference at Selmecz — 
Spring to autumn 1704 . . . . . .178 





The battle of Nagyszombat — English diplomacy in Vienna 
and French diplomacy in Hungary — Campaigns and 
negotiations till Emperor Leopold's death, November 
1704-June 1705 . . . . . . . 222 


Kurucz's attitude towards the new reign — Fruitless efforts for 
peace — Desultory military operations of the Hungarians 
— Herbeville's campaign in the East — The convention at 
Szecsen and the constitution of the Hungarian Confederacy 
— Battle of Zsibo — The Austrians reconquer Transylvania 
and lose South- Western Hungary ..... 246 


Further efforts of England and Holland and the difficulties 
they encounter on both sides — Rakoczi's senate and 
council at Miskolcz — Hungarian finances — The military 
situation in the winter of 1706 — The armistice . .280 


The Peace Congress at Nagyszombat — Rakoczi and Wratislaw 
— Transylvanian question the main obstacle to peace — 
Failure of the Congress . . . . . .304 

INDEX . 337 


Map to accompany Hungary's Fight for a National Existence, 

1703-17 1 1 ..... At end of Volume 


On the 27th of March 1676, in the castle of Borsi, 
Francis Rakoczi was born. A great name and an 
enormous fortune were his by birthright, but not 
their tranquil enjoyment. ' They were sorrowful 
days for his country, those in which he saw the 
light of the world. Four generations had passed 
since a permanent connection had been established 
between Austria and Hungary, and during those 
150 years a conflict had been waged, with varying 
bitterness but without interruption, in council 
chambers and on battlefields between the policy 
of the one and the rights of the other. The climax 
had been reached in the reign of Leopold I., and 
for Hungary as a nation the struggle had become 
a question of life or death. By the traditions of 
his family, by his first surroundings and impressions 
as well as by the events of his early manhood, 
Rakoczi was predestined to be the leader of the 
national cause. He fulfilled his destiny, and for 
doing so had to die in exile and poverty, but he 
saved, if not the independence, at least the exist- 
ence of his nation and its hopes for the future. 




During more than 500 years Hungary had been 
an important and powerful member of the family of 
Christian nations. For several epochs she had been 
the leading power in the East, and the influence of 
her kings had reached to the shores of the Baltic 
as well as to those of the Mediterranean. In the 
fifteenth century she had held her own against the 
rising power of the Turks, and proved the true 
bulwark of Europe. But on the evening of August 
29, 1526, she seemed to lie prostrate at the feet of 
Sultan Soliman. " - 

Great as was the blow dealt at Mohacs, it would 
not by itself account for the country's total collapse.^ 
To the danger from without came that from within. 
The struggle for supremacy between the crown 
and the great feudal lords, which at the end of the 
Middle Ages marked the history of all Europe, was 
fought with violence and tenacity also in Hungary. 
The great king Matthias had curbed his nobles, 
but under the reign of his feeble successors the 
authority of the crown had dwindled to a mere 
shadow and all real power been usurped by a few 
oligarchs. They fought each other in selfish 

1 King Lewis 11. had fought the battle of Mohacs with an army of about 
27,000. This had been annihilated, but it had by no means represented all 
the fighting forces of the country. John Szapolyay, the most powerful of 
Hungarian oligarchs, had not been there, nor Christopher Frangipani, nor 
had the princely prelates brought all their retainers or the gentry of the 
different counties appeared in full numbers. There were elements enough 
for further resistance, but none was made, and the country seemed stunned. 
As late as 1580, Lorenzo, Venetian envoy in Vienna, wrote that in reality the 
Magyars were strong enough to resist the Turks, but that they had sunk from 
their former level ; civil war, general deterioration, and the insolence of the 
great nobles had wrecked and ruined the country. MS. Imp. Library, 

INTRODUCTION 1526-1657 3 

factions/ they scoffed at King Wladislaw, they 
oppressed the gentry, and after the horrible rising 
of 15 14 they reduced the peasantry to a condition of 
servitude. Similar things had happened in other 
countries — even in England after the death of 
Henry V. — bat then they had a national dynasty, 
and were left alone to work out their own salvation. 
It was Hungary's fateful misfortune that the power 
of the Turk battered at her door at the time of an 
internal crisis, when all her forces seemed on the 
verge of dissolution. „ 

Hungary was an elective kingdom, but from the 
origin of its history the nation had exercised its 
right in a way which had given the succession the 
appearance of heredity. As long as the House of 
Arpad existed, the crown remained in it ; after its 
extinction, descent from it through the female line 
had recommended the Anjou, Luxemburg, and 
Habsburg kings to the choice of the nation. No 
such considerations had entered into the election 
of Matthias Hunyadi, during whose reign the 
country reached the summit of its fame. But he 
died without an heir, and so did the Jagello king 
who fell at Mohacs. 

Two princes of the House of Austria had worn 
the Hungarian crown in the fifteenth century, and 

1 A week after the battle of Mohacs, Christopher Frangipani wrote : The 
blow was useful, for if the Hungarians had triumphed over the Turkish 
Emperor, who could have lived under them, who remained amongst them and 
where would have been the limit of their pride ? " These lines of the great 
Croatian lord are characteristic of his relations with his Magyar brethren 
and the condition of the country. 


ever since their successors had coveted its reversion. 
Treaties and alliances had been concluded, the 
double marriage between the Habsburgs and 
Jagellos arranged for the purpose. Now the vacancy- 
foreseen in those conventions had occurred, and 
Ferdinand of Austria claimed the throne of 
Hungary in virtue of his own and his wife's rights. 
But neither King Matthias and Wladislaw could 
confer more rights by treaty nor Princess Anne 
bring them in dowry than they themselves possessed, 
and the nation had never renounced its right of 
free election. Nor did Ferdinand neglect any 
means to ensure his ascent to the throne in the 
constitutional way, and by far the most powerful 
argument for his aspirations was the consideration 
that Hungary needed foreign help to resist Turkey, 
and that none was more able to give it than her 
nearest neighbour, the sovereign of Austria, who 
was the brother of the most powerful prince in 
Christendom, Emperor Charles V. 

Unfortunately the dissensions and factions which 
had lamed the national resistance during the war 
did not die on the field of Mohacs. In fact, the 
nation did the worst thing possible in the impend- 
ing crisis. It divided within itself, and held a 
double election. Two kings — Ferdinand of Austria 
and John Szapolyay — were chosen and crowned. 
Civil war ensued, the weaker side appealed to 
Turkey, Sultan Soliman interfered, nominally in 
favour of Szapolyay, in reality of himself, and the 

INTRODUCTION 1526-1657 5 

final result of twenty years of war and devastation 
was the cutting up of Hungary into three parts. 
The east and the south, with Buda, the ancient 
capital, became a Turkish province, the Habsburg 
kings retained the north and the west, and Tran- 
sylvania was made a semi-independent principality 
under the double supremacy of the King and the 

Christian races under Moslem rule have no 
history. So wrote the historian of the Ottoman 
Empire seventy years ago,^ and his remark is 
certainly true at least for the times when that 
empire was strong. Nothing worth recording 
happened in the subjugated parts of Hungary. 
Where resistance was hopeless, none was made ; and 
until the rescue came from without, the inhabitants 
had only the choice of leaving their homes or 
dragging out their monotonous lives without hopes, 
aims, and aspirations. 

The rest of the country was saved from a similar 
fate by its connection with Austria, but this 
connection itself, by the nature of things, de- 
veloped on lines which made it incompatible with 
what Hungary had meant to save, viz. her national 
independence. By law and by right there was 
no other constitutional tie whatsoever between 
Hungary and the other dominions of the House of 
Habsburg than the community of their rulers. 
But in reality Hungary became a subordinate part 

^ Hammer, Geschichte des osmanischen Retches. 



of a world-wide fabric of aims and interests. Thirty 
years after hei had been elected King of Hungary, 
Ferdinand succeeded his brother in the Imperial 
dignity, and as long as it existed it remained in his 
line. Through it he and his successors became 
central figures in the whole network of European 
politics. Naturally, and inevitably, the issues 
resulting therefrom, their position in Germany, 
their nvllry with France, their struggles against 
the Reformation, were of far greater importance 
to them than Hungary and the East. The con- 
sequence was that the protection it received against 
the Turks was insufficient, while at home the 
inevitable struggle between royal power and feudal 
rights became one between foreign rule and national 

In the early days of his reign Ferdinand I. had ^ 

aimed at reconquering the integrity of Hungary. 
But his own forces were insufficient, and his 
Imperial brother had far too many irons in the fire 
ever to make an undivided effort in that direction. 
Under the stress of continued reverses, other 
occupations, and the growing estrangement between 
king and people, his policy changed.^ Resignation 
took the place of ambition, and was, in its turn, 
followed by indifference. The partition of the 
realm was finally accepted and acquiesced in, and 

1 The disastrous campaign of 1542 forms the turning-point of that policy. 
All the subsequent wars with Turkey — 15 52-1559, 1 566-1 568, 1 593-1 608, 
1 662-1 664, and even the glorious war of 1 683-1 698 in its beginning — were 
merely defensive, and forced upon them by determined Turkish aggression. 


whatever attempts were still made by Ferdinand 
and his successors to enlarge their share were 
henceforth directed, not against the Porte, but 
against the feebler vassal in Transylvania. If they 
led to new wars, as they did in 1552, 1566, and 
1 59 1, it was because the Turks were so resolved; 
and in spite of heroic episodes — amongst which 
the defences of Eger by Dobo and Szigetvar by 
Zrinyi stand out in legendary fame — of temporary 
successes, in spite even of the manifest beginning 
of the decay of the Turkish Empire, all these 
campaigns ended, not with a reduction, but with an 
extension of its frontiers. After the Peace of Zsitva 
Torok (1606), which marks the close ~oT¥ period, it 
betmTie^e''¥ettled policy of the Imperial court to 
avoid war with Turkej^-^^-any price. Hungary 
came to be looked upon as an outpost for the 
defence of Germany, and whether its stretch was a 
little longer or shorter, whether the Turkish pashas 
in the border forts kept the peace or forced the 
inhabitants, through repeated predatory inroads, to 
declare their allegiance, was a matter of minor 
importance.^ ^^-^^ut^^--. 

What contributed to the maintenance and 
development of this policy was the reaction from 
the feelings which it had engendered in Hungary. 
In the Council of Rudolf II. the question was even 

1 Pauler, The Conspiration of Wesselenyi, vol. i. p. 36 ; Acsady, History 
of Hungary, vol. ii. p. 207 and further ; and even Albert Lefaivre, Histoire 
des Magyars, perhaps the most hostile author who wrote on Hungarian 
history, vol. i. pp. 72, 146- 1 49 and later. 



discussed whether it would not be better to leave 
Hungary altogether to her fate, as she had always 
shown herself hostile to Austria, and her eventual 
liberations from the Turks might become a danger 
! rather than an advantage to the dynasty, at least as 

long as her crown remained elective/ 
f / If these were the hitches in the new connection, 
the rubs were not wanting either. Their causes lay 
deep in the nature of things, and to avoid them 
would have required more statesmanship than any- 
body in Austria or Hungary possessed in those 
days. The first Habsburg kings, Ferdinand I. and 
Maximilian II., were certainly no tyrants. Com- 
pared with their contemporaries, the Tudor kings 
of England, the Valois of France, not to speak of 
Philip II. of Spain, they were moderate in their 
aims and mild in their means. Nor had they any 
settled design to do away with Hungary's national 
institutions in order to create a homogeneous 
Empire and assimilate her with its other constituent 
parts.^ But they did want to consolidate their rule, 

1 Hoefier, Archiv fur osterreichische Geschichte, vol. xliii. p. 205. 

2 Unconsciously these tendencies existed from the beginning, but their 
conscious and unremitting pursuit developed later, and at different periods 
held absolute sway in the policy of Austria towards Hungary. At the 
time when centralization was at its height some Austrian writers have tried to 
prove that it goes back to the beginning of the connection between the two 
countries, and that already Ferdinand I. was fully resolved to create a 
centralized Empire. So Bidermann in his Geschichte der osterreichischen 
Gesammtstaatsidee, but the facts he cites have really no bearing on the point, 
and only prove that Ferdinand wished to obtain troops and subsidies from all 
his countries for. his wars against the Turks. The subject is well exposed in 
Gindely, Rudolf II. und smte Zeit, vol. i. pp. 30-36. So little were such 
designs entertained by Ferdinand I., that by his last will he divided his 
countries between his three sons. Considering that they in their turn left 
eleven sons between them, it seems an extraordinary dispensation that one 


to strengthen and extend the royal power ; they 
stood for the Roman Imperial idea, and they 
were, and remained, foreigners. So their aims and 
efforts brought^fhem into conflict not only with the 
liberties and privileges of Hungary as they had 
come down from the Middle Ages, but with its 
inmost national feelings and aspirations. The same 
forces were then at work everywhere in Europe, 
but what in other countries remained a matter 
between king and nation, between modern develop- 
ment and rights founded on the medieval structure 
of society, became in Hungary a conflict between 
German power and national independence. 

Long before an Austrian Empire was thought of, 
central Austrian bodies were created. The army 
was the Emperor's and his alone, so were the 
revenues which he drew as King, or Archduke, or 
Margrave from his different countries, and which 
were paid into his exchequer from their boards of 
treasury. For their administration the board of 
war {Hofkriegsrath), which alone had authority 
over the army, and a central board of treasury 
[Hofkammer) were established, to which latter the 
Hungarian chamber of finance was subordinated. 
Even earlier, Ferdinand I. had instituted a privy - ^ — 
council, which formed the first beginning of an 
Imperial cabinet, and soon became the most im- 
portant body in the Imperial court. Few Hungarians 

hundred years after his death all his inheritance should again be united in the 
hands of his grandson's grandson. 


have sat therein, and none of them has ever had 
any influence on its innermost deHberations, which 
turned on the great questions of the Emperor's 
world-wide policy. So the most vital issues of 
national life, those relating to foreign policy and the 
army, passed out of the reach of the Hungarian 
parliament, and in the eyes of Europe Hungary lost 
the recognition of her separate national identity. 

For two hundred years the records of Hungarian 
parliaments are filled with complaints against the 
violation of the country's constitutional rights. 
They began as early as 1530, and they continued 
with increasing vehemence as time went on, as one 
reign succeeded the other, and no redress was given. 
The kings convoked the diets because they could 
not get taxes and subsidies without it, and the 
estates answered the royal demands by enumerating 
their grievances. The undue influence of foreigners 
on Hungarian affairs, their appointment to offices 
and emoluments, the leaving vacant the office of 
palatine resulting from the purpose of its abolition, 
the subjecting of Hungarians to trial outside the 
kingdom, the encroachments and exactions of the 
Imperial treasury, the excesses and vexations of the 
foreign mercenaries, and later on the violation of 
the rights of the Protestants were complained of and 
protested against in nearly every subsequent session. 
Of all these standing grievances none was more 
bitterly felt or created deeper exasperation than the 
insults and injuries which high and low had to 

INTRODUCTION 1526-1657 ii 

suffer from the foreign soldiers who were quartered 
on the nation in time of peace as well as of war. 
They were recruited from all parts of the world — 
Germany, Flanders, and Italy; they were paid 
irregularly or not at all, and they recouped them- 
selves on the unfortunate country by preying on its 
inhabitants and committing depredations and acts of 

Discontent on one side, distrust on the other, 
estrangement on both were naturally engendered 
by this state of things, but as yet the fear of the 
Turk prevailed. Such as it was, the part of 
Hungary over which the power of the Habsburg 
kings extended seemed all that was left of a mighty 
past, and the only spot to which the hope of a 
brighter future could be attached. No uprising 
against their rule occurred in the sixteenth century. 
The crisis came when religious persecution was 
added to the political grievances, and Rudolf II. 
resolved on dealing Protestantism in Hungary a 
stunning blow. 

The new faith had made rapid progress in 
Hungary. By the end of the sixteenth century the 
great majority of its inhabitants had embraced it. 
A few families of the high nobility had remained 
Catholics, the rest and almost all the gentry had 
adopted the faith of Calvin and Zwingli; the citizens 

^ Compare Acsady, History of Hungary, vol. ii. pp. 175, 176, and 266- 
268 ; Pauler, vol. i. pp. 56-60 ; also Szalay, History of Hungary, vol. iv., 
and older writings like Histoire des Revolutions de Hongrie, vol. i. chaps, ii. 
iii. and iv. ; also Ritteir, Deutsche Geschichte, vol. ii. p. 175. 


of the free towns — all Germans — were Lutherans 
almost to a man. From political considerations 
Ferdinand I. and Maximilian H.^ had been tolerant 
towards the adherents of the new religion, and their 
example was followed by the high Catholic clergy, 
who, in the second part of the century, filled most 
of the high Governmental offices, and took a keener 
interest in worldly matters than in the pastoral 
work among their flocks.^ At the beginning of the 
seventeenth century, however, the counter-reforma- 
tion was in full swing in all the Catholic countries 
of Europe. It would have come to Hungary any- 
how, but the way in which it came first was the 
personal act of Rudolf II., and he was then in the 
very depth of his mental derangement. 

For a fugitive moment the reign of this un- 
fortunate sovereign seemed to open fairer prospects. 
In 1603 his power in Hungary extended farther 
than that of his father and grandfather had ever 
done. The war with Turkey had lasted twelve 
years, and on the whole had not been unsuccessful. 
The old grievances of the country had remained 
unremedied, and the complaints of the diet had 

^ In his youth Maximilian was even suspected of a leaning towards 
Protestantism, and in Rome his Catholic zeal was never fully trusted. 
Although the fears and hopes attached to this belief proved groundless, and 
Maximilian after his accession to the throne accentuated his Catholic belief, 
he never persecuted Protestants. Altogether he was of a conciliatory nature, 
fond of pleasure, and although neither liking Hungarians nor trusting them, 
glad at heart when he could be at peace with his subjects. Acsady, vol,, ii. 
p. 220 ; and Gindely, vol. i. pp. 24-25. 

Compare a memorandum, " De lo stato presente eclesiastico et politico in 
Ungaria," by the Papal nuncio in Vienna, 1605, in the archives of the 
Borghese family in Rome. 

INTRODUCTION 1526-1657 13 

become louder and more vehement, but they had 
voted the subsidies, and the Hungarian leaders — 
Nicholas Palffy and Francis Nadasdy at their head 
— had been foremost in their devotion and achieve- 
ments. The hope seemed permissible that the 
conquering tide of the Turks might be finally 
turned back. Even Transylvania had fallen into 
the Emperor's hands, and never had he had so 
strong an army. It was then that he conceived 
the idea of turning his power against what he con- 
sidered the enemy at home, to establish absolute 
rule, and to begin by crushing the Protestants. 
His resolution was not inspired by religious zeal, 
nor was it instigated by Rome, for ever since the 
outbreak of his mental malady he had shown a 
marked aversion to the clergy, and he hardly 
ever received the papal nuncio. Shut up in his 
castle at Prague, accessible only to his astrologers, 
alchemists, and valets, the suspicion that his nearest 
of kin considered him unfit to reign enraged him 
more than anything else, and the desire to impress 
them with his energy and power, and to get rid 
of their importunities about providing for the 
succession, seems to have been the main motive 
for his decisions.^ 

There followed in rapid succession the trial of 
Stephen Illeshazy, when he — one of the foremost 
magnates of the kingdom and a staunch adherent 

^ The nuncio as well as the Spanish ambassador frequently complained to 
their senders that the Emperor would only receive them once or twice a year, 
and then for a few minutes only. Gindely, vol. i. pp. 65-67. 


of the royal house — was condemned to death and 
his property confiscated for felony on the strength 
of a judgment which had never been rendered, 
but concocted afterwards ; ^ the order to Thurzo, 
Captain - General of the Cisdanubian district, to 
expel the Protestant priests to whom he had given 
refuge after they had been driven out of Styria, 
and the taking away of the great cathedral in 
Kassa from the Protestants and restoring it to 
the Catholics, of whom there were none in the 
city. And to crown these acts came the insertion 
of the famous Article XXH., when, after the pro- 
testations which had been raised at the session 
of March 1604 against these violations of religious 
liberty, the Emperor sanctioned the XXL Articles 
which had been passed, but on his own authority 
added another to the statute-book, by which he 
declared his resolution to clean tjae country from 
heretics, and forbade, under severe penalties, any 
future attempt to bring this matter before the 

Then the country was ripe for a revolution. 
It only wanted a signal to break out and a leader 
to head it. The first was given by the mutiny 

1 This famous trial began in 1600 and ended November 3, 1604. It 
took its origin from Illeshazy's resistance to the redeeming of two small 
boroughs which had been mortgaged to his wife and were now to be made 
free towns. Other arraignments for disrespect and disobedience were added 
to the articles of accusation, but the main motive of the whole proceeding 
was the desire of the Imperial treasury to get possession of Illeshazy's great 
wealth, and the boundless rage of Rudolf at his having dared to oppose the 
royal will. An interesting essay on the subject has been written by Arpad 
de Karolyi, Illeshazy hut lensegi pore, Budapest, 1883. 

INTRODUCTION 1526-1657 15 

of some bands of Hajducks then in the Imperial 
service, the second stood ready in the person of 
Stephen Bocskay. 

The uprising which followed is one of the 
most memorable episodes in Hungarian history — 
memorable through the conduct of the man who 
led it, through its success, but most of all through 
its effect on the future standing of Transylvania. 

Transylvania is a part of Hungary as much 
as Wales is of England. Its separation from the 
mother-country was a diminution and a mutilation 
for both of them, and felt as such by Hungarian 
patriots in the sixteenth century. Caused originally 
by the rivalry between the two kings, it was per- 
petuated by the will and the power of Turkey. 
In those troublous days, when faction stood against 
faction, when high and low changed their allegiance 
from king to king and from both of them to the 
Turk, when everybody's hand seemed raised against 
everybody else's and all law had ceased because 
there was nobody to enforce it, men were not 
wanting who saw in the erection of the new prin- 
cipality a stepping-stone for their own advancement, 
and therefore lent their services to it. But what- 
ever there was left of Hungarian patriotism thought 
otherwise, deplored the division, and longed and 
worked for reunion. John Szapolyay himself agreed 
to limit the separation to his lifetime, and concluded 
a treaty with Ferdinand by which Transylvania 
was to revert to the latter after his death. It 


was his all-powerful minister, Cardinal Martinuzzi — 
better known in history as Friar George — who had 
risen to greatness through him and been his faithful 
adherent, who carried out the treaty, very much 
against the inclination of the widow queen Isabella. 
However, the friar was a politician as well as a 
patriot, and he considered that the Porte should 
not know of the arrangements before Ferdinand 
was in a position to protect the country from its 
wrath. The tortuous policy and winding ways 
he followed to the end cost him his life, for 
Ferdinand's generals were either not able or did 
not want to understand him, and he was assassinated 
by Castaldo's order. The consequence was a new 
war with Turkey, the return of the Szapolyays, 
and the final loss of Transylvania for more than 
a century.^ 

The happenings in Transylvania during the 
next forty years have but little bearing on the 
general history of Hungary. Left relatively alone 

1 Whether General Castaldo himself believed the accusations — some of 
which appear idiotic on the surface — he forwarded to Vienna against 
Martinuzzi or whether he was simply moved by envy of the cardinal's 
wealth and power is a point not perfectly cleared up. After the deed was 
done (December 17, 155 1), Ferdinand took the responsibility upon himself, 
but in reality the only known order he had given to Castaldo was a hypo- 
thetical one empowering the general to proceed to extreme measures if he 
should really become convinced that Martinuzzi intended to betray him 
and his small army of 6000 men into the hands of the Turks. Castaldo's 
complaints against the friar began on September 29, but in the letters 
which Ferdinand had written on December 9, 12, and 14 to the man who 
had been made cardinal at his instance a few months before there is no 
evidence that he gave any credit to those accusations or suspected Martinuzzi. 
The Hungarian historian Michael Horvath has written a most interesting 
essay on Friar Gyorgy's life, published in the fourth volume of his smaller 
historical works, Budapest, 1868. 

INTRODUCTION 1526-1657 17 

by Emperor and Sultan, its princes had their hands 
full with their internal affairs. Their princely throne 
was not an easy-chair. Most of their elections had 
to be made good by force of arms against some 
rival pretenders, and when these were defeated new 
ones stood always ready to snatch at supreme 
power. The intrigues and fights of factious nobles, 
the oppression of the Szekelys,^ their revolt and its 
suppression, and, after the Bathorys had succeeded 
the last Szapolyay, their attempts at counter-refor- 
mation fill the pages of the principality's history 
during the latter part of the sixteenth century. 

A period of bloodshed, devastation, and misery 
opened for the unfortunate country with Rudolf II.'s 
long war against the Porte, but its sorest trials 
did not come from the Turks. Sigismund Bathory 
sat then on the throne. He joined the Emperor's 
side (1594), and a few years later conceived the 
idea of abdicating in his favour. Hardly had he 
carried it out when he repented of it and returned. 
Three times within four years did he repeat the 
game of renouncing and resuming his power, until 
he finally disappeared from the political scene. ^ 

1 Tradition and legend have attributed to the Szekelys descent from the 
Huns of Attila. Modern historical research has established that they were a 
Kabar or Esra tribe, who came into the country with the Magyars, and already 
in the eleventh century had fully assimilated themselves to them. The first 
Hungarian kings had assigned settlements to them in Transylvania and given 
them an organization of their own, which they kept through centuries. 
Although they spoke the Magyar language, and to all purposes were Magyar, 
they were in frequent feud with the Transylvanian nobles, and many of them 
had been subjected to the state of the peasantry, viz. to servitude. 

2 The life of Sigismund Bathory reads more like a novel than history. 
He was but nine years old when he succeeded his father, during whose lifetime 



But in the meanwhile his shifts and changes had 
led to civil and foreign war, to the interference 
of the hospodar of Wallachia, and finally to the 
reign of blood and terror of General Basta, which 
to this day is remembered in Transylvania. In 
the winter of 1603 the Emperor's power seemed 
firmly established, but the country was ruined. 
Basta himself thus described its state : 

The changes and wars have turned the country into 
a desert. The boroughs and villages have been burned, 
most of the inhabitants and their cattle killed, or driven 
away. In consequence, taxes, excise, bridge and road 
tolls yield but little, the mines are deserted, there are no 
hands to work.^ 

Rudolf II. had done everything to drive Hungary 
and Transylvania to despair. To fill the measure, 
his generals forced the arms into the hands of the 

he had already been elected prince. He was twenty-two when he had to 
defend his throne against a faction headed by his own cousin. In its 
suppression he showed energy, in its punishment cruelty. For siding with 
the Emperor he was rewarded by the hand of an Austrian archduchess, 
sister of the future Emperor Ferdinand II. She was young and beautiful, but 
he lived with her as with a sister. In the campaigns of i59S and 1596 
he took a not undistinguished part. In April 1598 he took leave from his 
subjects, announcing to them his abdication and their transfer to the Emperor. 
In August he was back again, and in the ensuing March abdicated a second 
time in favour of his cousin Andrew, who a few years before had to flee 
before his persecution. After the latter's fall and death he tried to resume 
his power, and spent the next three years warring with the Wallachians and 
Imperialists. In 1602 he abdicated finally in favour of the Emperor, and 
spent the remainder of his life (he died in Prague, March 161 3) in the castle of 
Lobkowitz, which he had received from the latter, together with a pension of 
50,000 ducats. Whether it was the shadow of his cousin Baltazar, who had 
been beheaded without a trial, which preyed upon his mind, or whether it was 
unhinged by his peculiar marital relations is a matter of surmise for con- 
temporary writers. It certainly was as unsound as that of Rudolf II. himself 
or of Charles IX. of France. As shown by their examples, neurasthenia in its 
worst form is far from being a modern disease. 

^ Acsady, vol. ii. pp. 230-240 ; Szalay, vol. iv. pp. 448-470. 


man best able to wield them. This was Stephen 
Bocskay, Prince Sigismund's uncle, the ablest and 
most influential man in his dominions, ambitious, 
far-seeing, cool-headed, and patient. He, too, had 
wished to unite the whole nation under the House 
of Habsburg against the Turks, had favoured his 
nephew's plans, negotiated his treaties with the 
Emperor, and remained faithful to the latter after 
Sigismund's second abdication in favour of his 
cousin. For the next few years he had to flee from 
his country, and retired to Prague, where he was 
slighted,^ but where he had the opportunity to 
take the full measure of the Emperor's court and 
government. In 1604 he had returned to Hungary, 
and was quietly living on his estates when the 
accidental seizure of some letters he had written 
to Gabriel Bethlen, and his impending arrest by 
Belgiojoso, forced his hands, and caused him openly 
to head the national movement. 

The uprising which followed was completely 
successful. The Emperor's power depended on his 
armies, and their existence on his ability to pay 
them. Simple calculation ought to have told him 
that he had not the means to do so for any length 
of time, and short reflection convinced him that the 
subsidies he had hitherto received from the German 
Empire against the Turks would not be forthcoming 
against his Protestant subjects.^ The hereditary 

^ Gindely, vol. ii. p. 70. 

2 Gindely, vol. i. gives a very interesting statement of the Emperor's 


provinces, the two Austrias and Moravia, were in 
a hardly lesser ferment than Hungary, and their 
discontent was heightened when within a year 
Bocskay stood on their frontiers, and they had to 
suffer as much from the retreating and disbanding 
Imperial soldiers as from the inroads of the rebels. 
Rudolfs suicidal policy drove the princes of his 
own house into opposition against him, until at 
last his brother Matthias wrested first his consent 
for negotiations and then his abdication as King 
of Hungary from him when he refused to ratify 
the Treaties of Vienna and Zsitva Torok. 

Successful as Bocskay was in the field, his 
achievements as a statesman rank higher. To the 
Sultan, fully occupied with troubles at home and 
in Asia, and hitherto unable to carry on the war 
with vigour in Hungary, his uprising was a god- 
send, and he hastened to proclaim him Prince of 
Transylvania and later King of Hungary. But 
Bocskay had never intended to sever the ties 
between his country and the House of Habsburg, 
and his head had not been turned by his successes. 
He was not unmindful of his personal advantages ; 
he kept Transylvania and enlarged his share by 
the addition of some Hungarian counties and the 
title of a prince of the Roman Empire. But to 
the establishment of a vassal kingdom, dependent 
on the favours of the Sultan, he preferred the 
maintenance of the existing balance of powers. 
While he had concluded an offensive and defensive 


alliance with Turkey he was negotiating for peace 
with the archduke in Vienna. The terms upon 
which he insisted, and which he obtained, stipulated 
for freedom of religion as formerly established — 
viz. for the two Protestant confessions and for the 
privileged classes — faithful observance of the king- 
dom's rights and laws, exclusion of foreigners from 
offices and military commands, with the sole ex- 
ceptions of the commanderships of two fortresses, 
besides redress for a series of specific grievances. 
The Articles of the Peace of Vienna were afterwards 
incorporated into the Hungarian statute-book. 

Five months later (November 1606) peace was 
also concluded between the Emperor and Turkey. 
It entailed some loss of territory, but was made 
on less humiliating terms than Ferdinand and 
Maximilian had had to accept. The net result of 
fifteen years of warfare was the maintenance of the 
division ot the kingdom into three parts, although 
with a considerable alteration of their respective 
sizes.^ But Hungary had proved that she could 
make a successful fight for her constitutional rights, 
and Transylvania had become an important factor 
in the equation of the future. 

On his deathbed Bocskay wrote that so long as 
the Hungarian crown remained in possession of a 
stronger nation and Hungarian royalty was dependent 

1 After the two Treaties of Vienna and Zsitva Torok 1222 square miles 
remained to the Emperor as King of Hungary. The share of Turkey was 
1859 and that of Bocskay 2082 square miles (these numbers are given in 
geographical square miles). 


on Germans, the maintenance of a separate Hun- 
K garian principality in Transylvania would remain a 
necessity. These words show that he had renounced 
the ideals or hopes of his earlier days, but the views 
they expressed became an article of faith for most 
Hungarian patriots of the next three generations. 
They were held in both camps, in that of the 
adherents of the Imperial house as well as in 
that of its opponents. Cardinal Pazman, during 
Ferdinand II.'s reign Primate of Hungary, the 
head and soul of Catholic counter-reformation, a 
devoted adherent of the House of Habsburg, but a 
true Hungarian patriot as well, shared them, and 
maintained that a separate Transylvania was the 
necessary safeguard for the preservation of Hungary 
as a nation. 

In the years which now followed Hungary had 
little to complain of and still less to fear from her 
kings or Austria. The troubles were already 
brewing which led to the Thirty Years' War, and 
for a generation to come the Emperors Matthias 
and Ferdinands II. and III. had enough to do in 
the West, where not only their Imperial position in 
Germany, but even their hold over their hereditary 
provinces was at stake. Matthias had won his 
crowns from his brother through the help of the 
allied Hungarians, Austrians, and Moravians, and 
having satisfied the former, found himself confronted 
on one side with the demands of the others who 
desired for themselves what their allies in Hungary 

INTRODUCTION 1526-1657 23 

had won, and on the other with the hostility of 
Rudolf II., who, although threatened with rebellion 
in his one remaining country, was still childishly bent 
on regaining what Matthias had lost. When he had 
succeeded in Bohemia and to the Imperial crown 
he only found new cares and dangers. Little as he 
may have liked the stipulations he had had to agree 
to in Vienna,^ and the position won by Transylvania,^ 
he could not think of subverting them by open 
force and raising a new storm in the East. When 
he died (March 1619), his successor, Ferdinand II., 
found himself in a still more perilous position. 
Bohemia was in open rebellion, Moravia and Silesia 
had joined her, in the two Austrias the estates 
refused to do him homage, the Imperial crown had 
yet to be won. In Hungary alone, where he had 
been elected and crowned the year before, was his 
succession not contested from the outset. And the 
troubles which arose there shortly afterwards had 
their birth, not in the country, but were carried into 
it from outside. 

It was a fortunate thing for Hungary and Austria 
that Turkey was then in the hands of feeble rulers, 

1 We may gauge his views from a letter he wrote to his cousin Ferdinand. 
It had been stipulated in the Peace of Vienna that the frontier forts against 
the Turks should be garrisoned by Hungarian troops. Shortly afterwards the 
Porte suggested to the Emperor that it might be better to have foreign garrisons 
there. Informing his cousin of this proposal, he said that it would indeed 
seem a dispensation of Providence that the Turk himself should wish to abolish 
the laws enacted in the times of Bocskay. 

2 In another letter (November lo, 1613) he writes to Ferdinand that the 
palatine was in constant communication with the estates, even against his (the 
Emperor's) orders, and that the latter openly declared that the Prince of 
Transylvania was the best means of keeping him in order. 


torn by internal confusion and violent changes on 
the throne, occupied with Syrian revolutions and 
Polish wars. The thought of what might have 
happened had there been a sultan like Soliman in 
the palace, or even a grand vizier like the later 
Kara Mustapha at the Porte, might well make us 
pause. As it was, the peace was badly kept ; not 
only did the frontier pashas violate its stipulation, 
make inroads into the neighbouring counties, force 
their inhabitants to recognize their supremacy and 
pay them tribute, and carry thousands of them away 
into slavery,-^ but they also allowed their troops to 
join the ranks of the Transylvanian princes in open 
war against the Emperor. But, at least, official peace 
was kept and renewed from power to power, and 
Ferdinand H. was saved from the danger of seeing 
a Turkish army arrive under the walls of Vienna at 
the time of his^n-est need. 

The troubles of Austria and the decline of 
Turkey were Transylvania's opportunity, and she 
was fortunate in finding princes well able to make 
use of it. Bocskay outlived his trTumph only by 
a few months, and his next successors left no mark 
on history. The one, Sigismund Rakoczi, old, 
tired, more anxious about his Hungarian estates 
than about political adventures, abdicated after a 
reign of fifteen months ; the other, Gabriel Bathory, 

1 The diet of 1634 complained that within the last three years the Ttirks 
had forced over a hundred villages into allegiance and tribute, and carried 2000 
inhabitants into slavery. Pauler, vol. i. p. 4, tells that from 1606 to 1661 the 
Turks built 70 frontier forts, devastated 150 square miles of country, and 
carried at an average 10,000 souls yearly into slavery. 

INTRODUCTION 1526-1657 25 

young, not without talents, but tyrannical, cruel, 
unbalanced, like his uncle Sigismund, was dethroned 
and assassinated four years later. But from 161 3 
to 1648 the principality was ruled by two strong 
men — Gabriel Bethlen and George Rakoczi I. 
Widely different as were their individualities, they 
were both princes of ability, ambition, courage, and 
circumspection. Both succeeded in firmly establish- 
ing their authority at home and in obtaining the 
goodwill of the powers in Constantinople. Then 
they stepped forth as the champions of Hungary's 
religious and national liberty, made war on the 
Emperors Ferdinand II. and III., won honours, 
power, and riches for themselves, and made Tran- 
sylvania a factor in European politics. But the 
general condition of things created by the Turkish 
conquest was not altered, and for Hungary the 
importance of their historical part lay, not in what 
they achieved, but in what they prevented. 

Gabriel Bethlen's, or to call him by his Hungarian 
name Bethlen Gabor's, ambitions soared high. The 
crown of Hungary, enlarged by Austria and Styria,^ 
the crown of Poland, that of a newly-to-be-created 
Dacia, had alLflickered before his mental vision at 
times. But he was as wary as ambitious, as quick 
to stop as to move, always ready to reckon with 
probabilities, never willing to push fortune to 

^ In October 1619 he had offered his alliance to the Elector Palatine 
Frederick, then elected king by the revolted Bohemians, against a yearly 
subsidy of 300,000 florins and the annexation of Austria, Styria, Carinthia, 
and Carniol to Hungary. 


extremes. Three times he had made war on 
Ferdinand H. ; each time he had been the aggressor ; 
each time he concluded peace on essentially the 
same terms : Transylvania, with the addition of 
seven Hungarian counties, the castles of Munkacs 
and Tokaj, the status of a prince of the Roman 
Empire, the duchies of Oppeln and Ratibor in 
Silesia for himself ; for Hungary the reconfirmation 
of the Articles of the Peace of Vienna. In his 
foreign policy he was constant as to his aims, shifty 
as to his means. He stood forth as a champion of 
the Protestant cause, but had at first offered his 
alliance to Ferdinand II. When he did not receive 
a satisfactory answer he joined his enemies. After 
the Peace of Nikolsburg he asked for the hand of 
the Emperor's daughter. When his proposal was 
not accepted he married a princess of Brandenburg, 
and became the King of Denmark's ally. But he 
steered his vessel with consummate skill through 
the vicissitudes of the times, and left his country 
enhanced in strength and consideration. At home 
he was a wise and mild ruler, a liberal patron of 
science and art. 

After his death (1629) the usual factions and 
fights for the succession followed, but George 
Rakoczi came out of them victorious. Under him 
Transylvania continued in the ascendant, ^hi^wd, 
wary, and patient, he was more intent on con- 
solidating his power at home and developing his 
country's resources than upon warlike adventures. 

INTRODUCTION 1526-1657 27 

Above all, he had the genius of acquisitiveness. 
Heir to an already large fortune, he had married 
the heiress of a still greater one, and then increased 
their possessions by the spoils of his domestic 
enemies and grants obtained from the King of 
Hungary. Finally he married his son to the heiress 
of the Bathorys, and made his family one of the 
richest in Christendom. Altogether he belonged 
to a type more frequent among Anglo-Saxons than 
among Magyars, and, had he been born in the 
present days in America, would undoubtedly have 
become a millionaire, endowing public schools and 
lecturing Bible classes himself^ But when put to 
it, or when he found it advisable, he knew how to 
^ wield the sword as well. For twelve years he had 
kept peace with the Emperor, all offers and tempta- 
tions from Sweden, France, and German princes 
notwithstanding. It does not seem that Hungary 
had any particular new grievance in 1643, but 
neither grounds for discontent nor pretexts for an up- 
rising were wanting. The protection of the country 
against the Turkish pashas was sorely neglected, 
and Catholics and Protestants were always at 
loggerheads, the latter complaining of non-execution 
of the laws and treaties in their favour and of 
illegal violence of Catholic landlords against their 
tenants of other confessions. And Ferdinand III. 
was then sorely pressed by Sweden and France, so 

1 He said of himself that in all his life he had never been drunk, had 
never desired any other woman than his wife, nor to read any other book than 
the Bible. 


Rakoczi judged that his time had come. Having 
put himself on the safe side with Turkey, and con- 
cluded an alliance with the two powers, he took 
to arms. The campaign which ensued was not 
marked by any particular military exploits on either 
side, but was terminated two years later by the 
Peace of Linz, by which Hungary's constitutional 
rights and religious liberty were again reconfirmed, 
and Rakoczi gained some more new estates. 

In all its essentials the Treaty of Linz was 
a repetition of those of Vienna, Nicolsburg, and 
Pozsony. But it contained an important innovation, 
which marked the progress of the times. Hitherto 
all the treaties concluded and laws enacted had 
confined religious freedom to the privileged classes, 
nobles, gentry, and citizens of free towns. By the 
new treaty, the stipulations of which were embodied 
in the legislation of 1647, the right to follow and 
exercise their own religious judgment was also 
granted to tenants and peasants, even on the estates 
of the Catholic clergy. 

The Treaty of Linz marks the ending of another 
period. It had begun with a just revolt against 
despotic measures ; it had led to the rise of 
Transylvania to importance and power. The 
presence of princes like Gabriel Bethlen and 
George Rakoczi was in itself a check to the renewal 
of the attempts of Rudolf II., even had such an 
intention existed in Vienna, which at the time it 
did not. Besides, there was something flattering 

INTRODUCTION 1526-1657 29 

as well as reassuring to the national pride in the 
existence of a Magyar principality which again held 
rank in the councils of nations, and was sought after 
by powers like France and Sweden. It is there- 
fore not to be wondered at that the newly developed 
order of things became dear to the Hungarian 
heart, and exercised influence on their political 
conceptions even after it was gone. But in reality 
there was much that was fortuitous and still more 
that was precarious in fhTe position of the principality. 
If it had proved a safeguard against real or possible 
dangers from the West, it offered no remedy, nor 
even the hope of one, against the graver peril still 
looming in the East. Turkey's power, though it 
seemed lulled in slumber, was as yet unbroken ; 
the ties which bound the principality in vassalage, 
if loosened, were far from being cut. Whatever its 
princes had achieve^ had been done by the con- 
nivance or forbearance of the Porte. As long as 
"they paid their tribute and gave due attention to 
keeping the favour of the grand vizier of the day, it 
would gladly allow them to weaken the Emperor and 
be a thorn in his side. But it would allow them 
nothing more, as Rakoczi was sternly made aware 
when he negotiated the Treaty of Linz. Not one 
inch of ground had been recovered from the infidel, 
and there was no hope that it ever could be by 
Transylvania. The best minds of the country 
understood and felt it. Nicholas Esterhazy, palatine 
from 1625 to 1645, ^ fervent patriot, wrote that he 


must be indeed a heaven-born idiot who imagined 
that the country's salvation could ever be achieved 
by some Hungarian prince or principality alone. 
And Nicholas Zrinyi, by character, talents, and 
military achievements the foremost Hungarian of 
the next generation, thought likewise, and in spite 
of many disappointments remained a staunch 
adherent of the House of Habsburg until the in- 
glorious Peace of Vasvar made him give up his 
hope of seeing the nation's ideals realized by it. 

In spite of the four Transylvanian wars, this 
second period in the history of the connection be- 
tween Hungary and Austria was one of comparative 
appeasement and better feeling. Deeply impressed 
as Ferdinand II. was with the sense of his rights, as 
well as with that of the duties corresponding to 
them, he respected the rights of others. Eighteen 
months after his accession the Hungarians had 
followed the example of the Bohemians, and at the 
diet of Besztercze, held under the auspices of Bethlen 
(1620), deposed him and conferred the crown on 
the latter. But, unlike the Bohemians, they did not 
go through with their quarrel to the bitter end. 
What Ferdinand promised at Nicolsburg he kept. 
There was no violation of the constitution in his 
reign, the diets were held, the office of palatine 
filled,^ and Hungarian advice prevalent in the affairs 

1 This office was peculiar to Hungary. By the constitutional laws 
compiled by Verboczi the palatine was the commander of the kingdom's 
military forces, the mediator, and eventually the judge, between king and the 
nation, regent of the realm during the sovereign's absence or incapacity. In 

INTRODUCTION 1526-1657 31 

of the country. In truth he was a great prince who 
had a tremendous task laid upon him. He failed in 
Germany, he fully succeeded in Austria, and he left 
Hungary as he found it. 

The improvement we speak of is shown in the 
records of the diets of 1622, 1625, 1634, 1647. 
The grievances were fewer, the debates less 
acrimonious, the laws passed were numerous, and 
what is still more important, they did not merely 
have the raising of new taxes and soldiers in view, 
but also the promotion of general welfare like the 
regulations of rivers, the better administration of 
justice, reforms of the coinage and — characteristic 
of the economic notions of the period — the estab- 
lishment of a standard of prices. The old complaint 
about insufficient protection against the Turks, 
misbehaviour of the soldiery, arbitrary proceedings 
of fiscal officials never ceased, but the chief griev- 
ances of the time turned on the quarrels between 
Catholics and Protestants. These, however, cannot 
be laid at the door of the foreigner. In the great 
contest between the old and new belief — graphically 
reviewed in English literature by a master hand ^ — 
Hungary was one of the debatable countries. But 
while, from the Pyrenees to the shores of the Danube, 
the antagonists fought each other with fire and 

reality he had never exercised all these powers, which in the case of the 
Habsburg kings residing in Vienna would have reduced the crown to a mere 
title. From 1535 to 1608 the office had only been filled once (1554-1562). 
But after the Peace of Vienna Illeshazy was elected and the office never left 
vacant until 1667. 

^ Macaulay's Essays on Ranke's History of the Popes. 


sword, their quarrels here turned on the non- 
execution of the laws which granted equal rights 
and liberties to both. Undoubtedly these laws were 
frequently violated, churches and property illegally 
taken away, subject tenants forced to follow their 
landlords' conversion ; but, compared with the follies 
and crimes that accompanied the religious struggles 
in the rest of Europe, these were minor misdeeds. 
On the whole, the great principle of religious toler- 
ance was recognized and applied in Hungary earlier 
than anywhere else, and if in the stormy days of its 
birth it was not always scrupulously respected — and 
that by either side — the evil sprang from sincere or 
interested zeal grown on native soil, and not from 

But the calm was on the surface and the respite 
of short duration. If during the second period of 
her connection with Austria, Hungary was left 
relatively alone, it was because her rulers in Vienna 
had all their power engaged in the Thirty Years' War, 
and her Turkish aggressors passed through a period 
of decline. The Peace of Westphalia left Austria 
exhausted and in need of rest. Emperor Ferdinand 
III. was in feeble health, tired of war, anxious to 
avoid troubles. But in Constantinople the advent 
of a series of forceful grand viziers led to a new 
period of aggressiveness. The forces which had 
made for conflict before were again let loose there. 
As much as ever was Hungary thrown on Austria's 
assistance, more than ever was she made to realize 


that her interests and aspirations were but of 
secondary importance to her rulers. The bitterness 
engendered by her new deception, together with 
the old causes of discontent, led to conspiracies and 
open rebellion, these in their turn to stern retaliation, 
and at last to the settled determination to do away 
with Hungary's constitution altogether and to 
assimilate her with the Emperor's other provinces. 
Years of sadness followed, filled with civil war, 
military rule, and bloody assizes, intersprinkled now 
and then with feeble attempts at conciliation. It 
was in those years that it became a common saying 
that even Allah was better than Wer da," and 
that the inborn hatred of the German name, the 
innata Germani nominis aversio," of which one of 
Leopold I.'s historians complains, took root in the 
Hungarian heart. The triumphs and glories of the 
next war with Turkey produced a partial revulsion 
of feeling, but their effect was counterbalanced by 
the events which followed. When Hungary was 
reconquered, its frontiers restored, the check of 
Turkish power and Transylvanian assistance re- 
moved, the Austrian Ministers again reverted to 
former methods — with the same result. The 
constitution was laid aside and the nation made to 
feel that the foreigner who had helped it had become 
its master. When the opportunity offered it rose 
up again. It seems a strange and tragic irony 
of history that the most troubled period of her 
relations with Austria should have been the one 



Jier final deliverance from the Turkish yoke, 
and that in the reign of a king who himself was 
pre-eminently conservative, pacific, and bene- 

The tide of events was set rolling through the 
ill-starred ambition of the second George Rakoczi, 
who had succeeded his father in 1648. He was a 
prince of masterful disposition and great personal 
valour, who had inherited his father's love of power 
and money, but not his prudence and discretion. At 
home, in his unruly principality, his power was firmly 
established, but he was eager for aggrandisement, 
and continually involved in foreign adventures. 
When Charles Gustavus in 1657 declared war on 
Poland he joined the Swedes, although this step 
brought him not only into direct antagonism with 
the court of Vienna, but menaced him also with the 
wrath of Turkey. The Emperor was Poland's ally ; 
the Porte, where now grand vizier Mohamed Koprili 
reigned supreme, did not approve of its vassal's 
independent policy. The former sent Bishop 
Szelepchenyi into Rakoczi's camp to persuade him 
either to return or to make common cause with the 
Poles, the latter sent him formal orders to keep 
quiet. Flushed by the fortunate beginning of his 
campaign, he set persuasion and orders alike 
aside, and ran into disaster. In June, together 
with the Swedes, he had entered the Polish capital ; 
two months later his army was annihilated, he 
himself back in Transylvania, a forlorn fugitive. 

INTRODUCTION 1657-1700 35 

with a retinue of about 300 men. Two months 
more, and letters arrived from Constantinople de- 
posing the disobedient vassal, and ordering the 
Estates to elect some one else in his place. 

It was the beginning of the end, not only of the 
unfortunate Prince, but of his country as well. The 
grand vizier was bent on crushing him, and of 
reducing the state of semi -independence which 
Transylvania had enjoyed hitherto. In vain did 
Rakoczi sue for the Sultan's pardon,^ in vain solicit 
the Emperor's help ; for two years he maintained, 
single-handed, an uphill fight until he was killed in 
battle (May 1660), heroically leading 6000 Hungar- 
ians against 25,000 Turks. Two puppet Princes 
were elected at the bidding of the Porte, then a 
third, John Kemeny, who had been Rakoczi's 
general in Poland, and tried to make a stand for 
his country's independence. He, too, fell in battle ; 
and finally another creature of the Turks, one 
Michael Apaffy, was established as Prince. The 
country had been laid waste, its tribute raised, the 
important fortress of Nagy Varad taken ; the new 
Prince was an absolute tool in Turkey's hands,^ and 

^ The cringing terms he employed, calling himself the Sultan's born slave, 
are in striking contrast to his predecessor's role as champion of Hungarian 

2 The method of his election was characteristic of the true state ot things. 
When the Turkish Serdar, Ali Pasha, had invaded Transylvania, he looked 
out for some puppet to invest with the princely dignity. As none of the 
nobles whom he had first selected would accept it, he asked some Saxon 
citizens whether they knew any Hungarian gentleman suitable for the 
purpose. They named Michael Apaffy, who had just returned from Tartar 
captivity, and was quietly living on his estates. Ali sent for him, ordered as 
many of the nobility and gentry as he could into his camp, bade them elect 


the time seemed near when even the formaHty of 
his existence would be dispensed with and Transyl- 
vania turned into a Turkish Pachalik. 

In Hungary these events were viewed with 
deep concern. Of her leading men some had not 
approved of Rakoczi's adventurous policy, others 
had been in antagonism to him as the champion of 
the Protestant cause. But when he fell they all 
felt that Transylvania's danger was their own, and 
urgently appealed to their young sovereign not to 
let the sister- country perish. His Austrian ad- 
visers, however, had not the least desire for a war 
with Turkey. They had small reason to sympathize 
with Rakoczi, whom they had never trusted, and 
who had made war on their ally. Besides, they 
had other affairs on hand. Leopold I. had been 
crowned King of Hungary in his father's lifetime, 
and had peacefully succeeded to his hereditary 
dominions, but had yet to win the Imperial crown. 
In his inheritance he had found the war with 
Sweden, which lasted three years. Still, the King 
of Hungary could not quietly sit by and let Transyl- 
vania be transformed into a Turkish province. So 
the Imperial council decided to do something, and 
when the Peace of Oliva had been concluded, troops 
were sent to Hungary. But their number was 
insufficient to prevent the fall of Nagy Varad and 
the overthrow of Kemeny ; while the eagerness of 

Apaffy their prince, and installed him with the emblems of his dignity 
(September 1661). 

INTRODUCTION 1657-1700 37 

Austrian diplomacy to preserve peace only served 
to swell the arrogance of the Turks and defeated 
its own purpose.^ 

The war broke out in 1663. The Turks over- 
ran Hungary and took the fortress of Ersek 
Ujvar, a strong and important place, half-way 
between Buda and Vienna, which had hitherto pro- 
tected North- Western Hungary from their inroads. 
But next year the tables were turned, and the 
battle of St. Gotthard fought and won by Monte- 
cuccoli. It was the first signal triumph of the 
Imperial arms over the Turks, and the hopes of 
Hungary rose high. Ten days later peace was 
made on the basis of the status quo. The Turks 
were to keep the fortresses they had taken, while 
the Hungarians were not even to re-erect the one 
which Nicholas Zrinyi, their best son, had built, and 
which had always been a thorn in the Turkish flesh. 
The only result of the mighty victory was the con- 
tinuation of Michael Apaffy's washed-out figure on 
the Transylvanian throne. In every other respect 
the country was worse off than before the war. 

The news of these terms was received with 
astonishment in all Europe, they evoked severe 
criticism in Germany, and they filled Hungary with 
consternation and indignation.^ It was clear that 
her deliverance from the Turks did not enter into 

^ Compare for this part of Hungarian history, Szalay, vol. v. chap. 21 ; 
Rink, Leopold der Grosse, vol. ii. pp. 406-415 and 420-434; and Wolf, 
Lobkowitz, pp. 1 13-147. 

^ For the impression of the Peace of Vasvar on public opinion see Rink, 
vol. ii. pp. 471-477 ; Wolf, p. 132 ; Pauler, vol. i. pp. 1-5 and 35. 


the aims of the Austrian Ministers. What added 

given a voice in the matter. Not a single Hun- 
garian had been consulted during the negotiations/ 
nor was there one attached to Count Leslie's^ 
embassy, when a year later he was sent to Con- 
stantinople to draw up the final treaty. It was 
then that men who hitherto, from patriotism, sound 
reflection, or self-interest, had been the most faithful 
adherents of the reigning house, who had risen to 
power and won renown in its service — men like the 
primate Lippay, the palatine Wesselenyi, the judex 
curiae (Lord Chancellor) Nadasdy, and the two 
brothers Zrinyi — turned away from it in rage or 
despair, and began to consider and to plot whether 
and how they could save their country without it or 
against it. 

The Turkish peace was not the only cause of 
discontent, In the north-east it was not even the 
principal one. The thirteen counties into which 
that region is divided had always been the centre 
of opposition to the Austrian rule. There the 
religious question predominated over every other, 
the fear of the Germans was greater than that of 

1 Immediately after the battle of St. Gotthard grand vizier Ahmed Kopiiili 
had made peace overtures to the Imperial resident Reninger, who was in his 
camp. The negotiations were carried on in secrecy and concluded in ten 
days, but the terms of the peace became public only two months later. 

2 Walter Leslie was one of the many foreign adventurers who, during the 
Thirty Years' War, had risen to wealth and honours in the Austrian service. 
He was born 1605, a Scottish Catholic, had taken a principal part in Wallen- 
stein's assassination and fought his way up to the rank of Field- Marshal. He 
was made a Count, Knight of the Golden Fleece, married a Countess Diet- 
richstein, and died 1667. . 

to the sting was that the country had not been 


INTRODUCTION 1657-1700 39 

the Turks, who up to George Rakoczi's time had 
been looked upon as eventual protectors.^ The 
work of counter -reformation had received a new 
stimulus through the zeal and energy of his widow 
— Sophia Bathory. She was the last of a famous 
race, a woman of strong will, who had become a 
Protestant on her marriage, but at heart had always 
remained a Catholic, and had rejoined the old 
faith after her husband's death, bringing her young 
son Francis with her into itsjfold. On her vast 
estates, which stretched all over Northern Hungary, 
she deVoted herself to undoing all that former 
Rakoczis had done for Protestantism, and naturally 
won thereby the favour and confidence of the court 
in Vienna, but excited against it fully as much as 
against herself t^e complaints and clamours of 
her Protestant compatriots. In 1659, when King 
Leopold had convoked his first Hungarian diet, 
their representatives had again consented to post- 
pone their grievances, but three years later they re- 
fused to take the Royal propositions for the defence 
of the country into consideration before obtaining 
redress, and left the diet in a body, although the 
war with Turkey was imminent. During the war 
the attitude of the north-east had been lukewarm 
and unsatisfactory,^ and as counter- reformation, 
legitimate and illegitimate, continued, its irritation 
grew deeper and louder. The German troops had 

1 Pauler, vol. i. pp. 60-68. 
Ibid, pp. 27-28, 61-62 ; Wolf, p. 133 ; Szalay, vol. v. pp. 64-71. 


been left in the country, and their presence formed 
an added grievance. There was unrest, fermenta- 
tion, and inflammable material everywhere, yet 
there^was nothing^ to drive the masses to measures 
of despair, and all the leaders — great and small — 
felt convinced that nothing could be done without 
foreign help. ~ 

The figure of Leopold I. is well known to every 
reader of history. During forty-eight eventful years 
he was one of the foremost monarchs of Europe, 
and his character has been drawn by contemporaries 
and historians almost as often and minutely as that 
of his more brilliant cousin and rival, Lewis XIV.-^ 
The colours vary according to the political and 
religious views of the painter, but the main im- 
pression the impartial reader receives is the same. 
It is that of a simple, virtuous, good-natured, dull 
gentleman with strong convictions — inherited and 
developed by education, honestly trying to live up 

1 The Venetian envoys at his court, from Nani and Sagredo down to 
Giustiniani, Contarini, Cornaro, Venier, and Ruzzini, who were shrewd 
observers, but are not absolutely reliable in their reports, are unanimous in 
their praise of his justice, clemency, piety, and application to business. 
Gramont, who met him in Frankfort at his election as Emperor, called him a 
mild, good-natured, fully informed gentleman. Forty years later another 
French Ambassador, the Marquis de Villars, described him as a prince of 
intelligence, honesty, zeal for work, but always distrusting himself as well as 
others, and relying on miracles. Pufendorf writes likewise. Of French 
contemporaries, de la Faille and Chavagnac are more favourable, and decidedly 
so Freschot in his little book La Cour de Vienne I'/o^. Of modern 
historians compare the works of Gfrorer, Klopp, Baumstark, and Walewski, 
who are all very favourable to Leopold I., with those of Droysen, Goedecke, 
and Noorden, who are hostile, and Coxe, History of the House of Austria, who 
tries to be impartial. Of Austrians and Hungarians see Arneth, Wolf, 
Krones, Schicht, Majlath, and Pauler. Also Heigel, who has written an 
essay on the Emperor's character in Die Sitzungsberichte der k, b. Akademie 
der Wissenschaftejt, Miinchen, 1890. 

INTRODUCTION 1657-1700 41 

to them, but lacking in judgment and still more in 
initiative and determination. His private life was 
blameless, in glaring contrast to that of his con- 
temporaries, Lewis XIV. of France and Charles II. 
of England. As a ruler his way of thinking was 
the same as that of his French cousin. He was 
convinced of the divine origin and the absolute 
nature of his power, at the same time acknowledg- 
ing that he had obligations towards his subjects 
and the majesty of his own dignity, without, however, 
having a clear notion of what they consisted. He 
was sincerely and deeply pious, yet he attempted to 
subvert the Hungarian constitution, although in his 
coronation oath he had solemnly sworn to uphold 
it. The lustre of his reign is derived from the 
brilliancy of its military achievements ; what darkens 
it is its treatment of Hungary. The merit of the 
first belongs to the Emperor's generals and armies ; 
the blame for the second he must share with the 
statesmen who sat in his council. For with all his 
hesitation, indecision, and fear of responsibility, 
Leopold was by no means a mere figure-head. 
If he was generally guided by the opinions of 
others, it was by those of a number of advisers 
political and religious. Unlike their Spanish 
cousins, the Austrian Habsburgs had no all-power- 
ful favourites. There are no Lerma's and Olivarez 
in their history. Leopold was no exception to 
this rule, and the stamp of his personality is im- 
pressed alike on his foreign and domestic policy, 



although he had invented neither the one nor the 

As yet, however, he was a timid youth ^ and 
entirely dependent on his Austrian Ministers. To 
all of them the Turkish War had come as an un- 
mitigated nuisance. When they had an opportunity 
to terminate it without loss and with its main end 
seemingly achieved they seized it. The fear of not 
receiving sufficient support from Germany, the 
eventuality of the opening of the Spanish succes- 
sion,^ and the Emperor's impending marriage were 
considerations which weighed in the balance, but 
even without them their decision was merely guided 
by the same principles which had ruled the policy 
of their predecessors for wellnigh a century. They 
were all men who had lived through the Thirty 
Years' War and had had their characters and views 
formed by its storms and results. The House 
of Austria had emerged from it deprived of all 
real power in Germany, but absolute master in 
its own dominions, everywhere but in Hungary. 
Leopold's Ministers — though in other respects at 
loggerheads with each other — were all champions 
of absolute power, and looked with little sympathy 
and much distrust on a country where medieval 
liberty and privilege were still in force, and which 
clung passionately to the right of electing its 

1 He was seventeen when he ascended the throne, twenty-four at the con- 
clusion of the Peace of Vasvar. 

2 Philip IV. was old and in declining health, his two-years-old only son, 
Charles II., so feeble that he was not expected to live. 

INTRODUCTION 1657-1700 43 

kings/ No diet was convoked after the war, but in 
face of the Hungarian discontent their principal 
men were called to Vienna, where Prince Lobkowitz 
explained to them the reasons for and the advantages 
of the peace, and asked them to accept it. They 
answered that they had neither authority nor wish to 
do so, expatiated on the sufferings of the country and 
asked for the recall of the German troops. They 
received some friendly assurances, but no measures 
were taken, and they could judge the true temper 
of the court by the remarks which there, as well as 
in the camps of the army, were flying through the 
air, namely, that it was high time to curb the arro- 
gance of their nation, tear down the heron-feathers 
from their kalpaks, replace the gold buttons on their 
coats by leaden ones, and put them into Bohemian 

This was the state of things and this the pre- 
vailing temper on both sides, which led to that 
strange and mournful drama well known in history 
as the conspiracy of Wesselenyi, Nadasdy, and 
Peter Zrinyi.^ The men who played the chief part 
in and paid so heavily for it held the highest offices 
in the land, owned enormous wealth, had every- 

1 Under the existing circumstances that right had lost all practical value, 
and all of Ferdinand I.'s successors had been elected without even the 
semblance of a contest. Still in the eyes of the nation hereditary power was 
identical with absolute power, and even Nicholas Zrinyi was violently opposed 
to a change when the idea had been mooted in 1655. 

2 A monograph on it was written shortly after the event by Angelini 
Bontempi, since then it has been mentioned in every work on Austrian 
history, but its detail and inward story have been only told in our own time 
by Wolf and Pauler. 


thing to lose and personally but little to gain. 
Francis Wesselenyi (born 1606) had risen through 
ability and good fortune to wealth and honours. 
He had served the Imperial House in the Thirty 
Years' War, fought in Germany and against George 
Rakoczi I., had won the hand of Maria Szechy, 
surnamed the Venus of Murany, and with it this 
famous castle, had been made a count palatine of 
the realm, and a knight of the Golden Fleece. 
Francis Nadasdy (born 1624) had found his wealth 
and honours in his cradle. He belonged to one of 
the greatest families of the country, his great- 
grandfather had been mainly instrumental in secur- 
ing the Hungarian crown for Ferdinand I. ; he 
himself was made judex curiae, the second temporal 
dignity of the realm, at the age of thirty. Like 
Wesselenyi, he was born a Protestant, but had 
become a convert, and a very zealous one too. 
Peter Zrinyi was a warrior, like all the members of 
his famous house. He had lived up to its traditions, 
and early in life had already won renown through 
deeds of bravery against the Turks. He had 
succeeded his brother in the office of banus of 
Croatia, and was the greatest magnate of that 
country. These were the men who now began to 
plot how to organize an armed uprising for their 
country's liberty against Austria. 

The undertaking was poorly conceived, and as 
poorly carried out. In its authors' ideas its pivot 
turned on obtaining the assistance of a foreign 

INTRODUCTION 1657-1700 45 

power. On the point which power it should be 
they were not agreed ; Nadasdy and Zrinyi looked 
towards France, Wesselenyi towards Turkey, Tran- 
sylvania, and Poland. In the end they would have 
been glad to welcome assistance from anywhere, 
only from nowhere was it to be had. For four 
years secret negotiations were carried on between 
the two Hungarian magnates and Lewis XIV.'s 
Minister in Vienna, the former asking for money 
and definite assurances, Gremonville manifesting 
friendly interest, giving advice, a little money too, 
but never committing his King. The game which 
Lewis XIV. began to play then he continued 
during fifty years. It is best characterized by 
his own words written on a later occasion.^ In 
1675 he wrote to Forbin Janson, his Minister in 
Poland : In according rewards to the Hungarian 
chiefs it is my intention to drive them forward on 
a path which they have voluntarily entered, and 
which they are no more free to leave. It is not 
my intention to accord to them such means that 
they could thereby sustain their troops." And again, 
Although I thought it useful to excite anxiety in 
Vienna, I do not go so far as to entertain by great 
expense a war so far away and so little regular as 
those based on popular revolt generally are." In 
1668 an agreement was reached between Austria 
and France and the secret partition treaty with 

1 Archivtwi Francuskie in Cracow^ vol. i. pp. 189 and 197, quoted by 
Ono Klopp in his work on the siege of Vienna in 1683, p. 47. 


regard to the Spanish succession signed, and then 
Gremonville told the Hungarians that nothing could 
be done for them at present. They fared still 
worse at Constantinople. Not only had Ahmed 
Koprili no intention to renew the war for their 
sake, but the court of Vienna learnt of all their 
missions and machinations through the Porte's chief 
interpreter Panajotti. The schemes for putting a 
French prince on the Polish throne and obtaining 
that country's alliance proved equally castles in the 
air, and Apaffy, who never moved but at the open 
or secret bidding of the Porte, was afraid of adven- 
tures, and confined his assistance to sending envoys 
to Constantinople. 

In the meanwhile agitation and conspiracy went 
on at home. The chiefs and the crowd of minor 
men who stood in the second rank met in their 
castles, at watering-places, at public assemblies. 
Pledges of federation were exchanged, violent 
speeches made, complaints and protestations sent 
to Vienna. Deeds of violence were committed, 
disorder and anarchy reigned, but no organized 
action was taken. There was no real leader. 
Nicholas Zrinyi, the one man who had possessed the 
requisite qualities and the moral authority for such 
a part, had died a few months after the peace. 
Wesselenyi had many brilliant qualities, but neither 
the constancy of resolution nor the grasp of mind 
to deal with extraordinary emergencies, besides he 
was wavering, easily ruled by the advice of others 

INTRODUCTION 1657-1700 47 

and the impressions of the moment. Fortunately 
for himself he died in April 1667, long before the 
crisis came. Nadasdy had rare intelligence, but 
was more a man of schemes and intrigues than of 
action, playing a double game, running after popu- 
larity as well as after the favour of the court, aiming 
at the palatinate, hoping one day to become the 
peacemaker between the King and nation. Peter 
Zrinyi was hot-headed, short-sighted, quarrelsome, 
always acting on the spur of the moment, and pushed 
on by his ambitious wife Catherine Frangipani. 

There was a man in Upper Hungary whom all 
outward circumstances seemed to point out for a 
leading part in the movement. That was young 
Francis Rakoczi I. But his mother's bigoted zeal 
had turned the feeling of the Protestants for his 
house into hatred and distrust. What weighed still 
heavier in the balance was the fact that he had none 
of the gifts of a leader of men. In four successive 
generations he was the only insignificant head of 
his historic house. At the age of seven he had 
been elected Prince of Transylvania ; after his 
father's fall he had lived quietly with his mother 
in Hungary ; five years later he had married Peter 
Zrinyi's daughter Ilona, celebrated for her beauty 
and misfortunes. The influence of herself and her 
parents prevailed over that of his mother ; he joined 
the movement but never led it. 

Things came to a head at the beginning of 1670. 
Zrinyi had decided to raise the standard of open 


revolt/ He had sent an agent to Turkey to ask 
for assistance and offer his allegiance in return. 
The reports he received were encouraging ; he and 
his brother-in-law Frangipani armed their retainers 
and prepared for an inroad into Styria. Rapidly 
the news spread through Northern Hungary together 
with rumours that Zrinyi had concluded an alliance 
with Turkey and was sure of its assistance. Rakoczi 
likewise took to arms and began hostilities by 
arresting the Emperor's commander in Tokay, 
Count Starhemberg,^ who had come to pay him a 
visit. But the rumours proved false and the 
Hungarian fire, for once, one of straw. When the 
Imperial troops arrived, no serious resistance was 
made. Rakoczi's troops dispersed, he himself fled 
to the castle of his mother, who at once began to 
negotiate for his pardon. In the south the move- 
ment never had any deep root, and Zrinyi and 
Frangipani could make no stand against the 
Austrian generals ; finding their escape cut off east 
and north they saw their only chance of safety lay in 
the Emperor's mercy, and rushed to Vienna to sue 
for it (April 1670). No Hungarian uprising before 
or since has ever so pitifully collapsed. 

1 In the preceding summer he had been in Vienna seemingly anxious to 
make his peace with the powers there. Two important commanderships had 
fallen vacant, and he aspired to either the one or the other. Obtaining 
neither, he left more enraged than ever, and resolved on the final step. But 
even then he was wavering, and as late as February 1670, while he was 
negotiating with the Turks, he wrote to Lobkowitz offering his senvices to 
the Emperor or asking for an exchange of his estates in Croatia against others 
in Austria (Pauler, vol. i. pp. 323-325)- 

2 It was the same Starhemberg who afterwards won undying renown by 
his defence of Vienna in 1683. 

INTRODUCTION 1657-1700 49 

Great had been the anxiety in Vienna, great now 
was the joy over a success seemingly so complete 
and so easily achieved. What in the past force, 
genius, and artifice had endeavoured in vain, Leopold 
had achieved with small effort and hardly any 
bloodshed.^ Hungary seemed to lie prostrate at 
his feet. The question was what to do with it. 
The opinion was general in Austria that not only 
should severe punishment be meted out to all the 
leaders of the late rebellion, but that the whole 
government of the country should be put on a new 

Nadasdy, Zrinyi, and Frangipani died on the 
scaffold (April 30, 1671). Such in all likelihood 
would have been their fate in any other country. 
Cinq Mars and de Thou in France were sent to the 
block for no more, Algernon Sidney in England 
for far less than what they had done. Their sad 
fate, exalted rank, and the troubles of their time 
have recommended their memory to the pitiful 
sympathy of their nation, subsequent events and 
the mode of their trial have lent it a halo of 
martyrdom which their lives and deeds do not 
warrant. As Hungarian peers the jurisdiction over 
them belonged to the Parliament, or at least to the 
supreme court of their country. They were tried 
in Austria by a special court created for the purpose, 
composed of Austrians alone, judging after foreign 

1 These are the words of the Venetian envoy Giorgi, see Fielder, 
Relationen der Botschafter Venedigs, vol. ii. p. 124 {Pontes rerum Austria- 
carum, vol. xxvii.) 



law. Legal arguments were not wanting/ but they 
were mainly employed for the colouring of a settled 
determination, for the Austrian Ministers had no 
intention of convoking a diet, nor did they care to 
bring the three offenders before a court where the 
judges might turn into their advocates.^ 

Special commissions were created in Hungary for 
the trial of the minor culprits. By the end of 1670 
about two thousand of the nobility and gentry had 
been arrested; the value of their sequestrated estates 
was estimated at 3 million florins. The prosecu- 
tions and trials lasted wellnigh a year. Of the 
capital sentences only one was carried out, but 
imprisonments and confiscations were numerous. 
Thanks to his mother's influence, Rakoczi was let 
off with a fine. The bartering about its amount 
was long and tenacious, the council in Vienna^ 
asking at first 2 million, the old Princess offering 
100,000 florins. At last the bargain was struck at 

I will make use of the opportunity and arrange 
things differently in Hungary," so wrote the Emperor 
to his Ambassador in Madrid in May 1670. And a 
year later, The Hungarians are now pretty quiet, 

1 They had been received into the ranks of the Austrian nobihty ; Nadasdy 
owned estates in Austria, Zrinyi and Frangipani were soldiers, Nadasdy and 
Zrinyi had plotted in Austria against Austria during the Emperor's wedding, 
all three had been arrested on Austrian soil. 

2 Notes of Montecucoli in the archives of the War Department in Vienna, 
August 25, 1670. 

3 It consisted of Lobkowitz, Count Sinzendorf, Hocher, and a Mr. Selb, 
one of the officials of the Treasury. 

* 200,000 in cash, 150,000 in provisions, and 50,000 in land. 


INTRODUCTION 1657-1700 51 

and I hope to put everything soon into a different 
shape." The thought which the Emperor thus 
uttered lay in the air.^ Whether it was Prince 
Lobkowitz or Baron Hocher who first conceived it 
cannot be established ; what is certain is that they 
gave it life and shape.^ 

Wenzel Lobkowitz ^ was then the foremost man 
in the Emperor's councils. A great lord by birth, 
a soldier, diplomatist and courtier by profession, 
a champion of absolute power by conviction, he 
belonged to that class of princely statesmen whose 
greatest representative is Richelieu, and who were 
the main instruments in working out the trans- 
formation of medieval into modern society by 
the abolition of feudal liberty and privilege and 
the establishment of a strong central authority. 
Brilliant and sarcastic, rich in experience, firmly 
believing in himself, he yet had none of the 
genius and foresight of his great models in 
France. His foreign policy was feeble and waver- 

1 We meet it in numerous memorials, propositions, and letters written by 
well-known and anonymous authors of the day. 

2 For the history of subsequent events see Wolf, pp. 339-355, and the 
essay of Karolyi, Director of the Archives in Vienna, " On the suspension of 
the Hungarian constitution." 

2 Born in 1609. In the stormy days of his youth his father had been 
unswervingly faithful to the House of Habsburg. The son followed in his 
footsteps, raised and commanded a regiment at the age of 22, became 
Lieutenant- General in 1640, and a few years later Privy Councillor. After 
that he was mostly employed in diplomatic missions, was made Field-Marshal 
in 1647 and President of the Board of War in 1652. At Frankfort he led the 
negotiations for Leopold's election as Emperor. After Prince Portia's death 
(1665) he became Lord Grand Master of the Court (Obersthofmeister) ; after 
Prince Auersperg's fall (1669) first Privy Councillor and virtually Prime 
Minister. In 1674 he fell into disgrace, was summarily dismissed from all 
his offices, banished from court, and died at his castle of Raudnitz in 1679. 
His life has been written by Adam Wolf. 



ing. True to the Austrian traditions, he wanted 
peace with Turkey at almost any price ; deviating 
from them, he worked for an understanding with 
Lewis XIV., which would have placed Austria in 
the same position as Charles II. had accepted for 
England, and which ultimately led to his fall. 
With regard to Hungary, he marched without 
scruples and hesitation toward^ his aim. 

More in the background, but of hardly less 
weight, was the influence of Paul Hocher.^ He 
was a true child of his time. Of modest birth, 
he owed his rise to his talents, industry, and use- 
fulness. A typical representative of the then 
nascent bureaucracy, he was a stupendous worker, 
incorruptible, inaccessible, faithful, and discreet, 
but rough, slow, and dull. A Venetian envoy 
remarks ^ that his want of breeding was visible 
in his appearance and manners, and that his 
speech betrayed that he had learnt what he knew 
in school and not at court. His political theories 
were based on the Roman law, and were the same 
as those of Hobbes. He was the staunchest 
enemy of Hungary's constitution and historical 

1 John Paul Hocher (born 1616) was the son of a professor in Freiburg. 
In 1635 he fled before the Swedes to Innsbruck, where he at first practised 
law. He entered the service of the Archducal Government, exchanged it for 
the Imperial service in 1662, and four years later became Chancellor of 
Austria. It was Lobkowitz who proposed him for the office, remarking to 
the Emperor that his abilities were preferable to the splendour of noble birth. 
He rapidly won the confidence of Leopold I., and kept it till his death 
(1683). The most important affairs passed through his hands, and especially 
in Hungarian matters his influence was paramount. 

2 Michieli. 


No diet had been held since 1662, the palatine's 
office had not been filled since Wesselenyi's death, 
and taxes were imposed on the country by royal 
decree. Now Lobkowitz laid a memorial before the 
Emperor, wherein he explained that the cause of 
all troubles in Hungary lay in the nature of its 
government, which might have been appropriate 
to other times, but did not suit the exigencies of 
the present. He proposed to abolish the office 
of palatine, to revise all the laws of the country, 
and to concentrate all power — political, military, 
financial, and judicial — in the hands of an appointed 
governor and council.^ 

The deliberations in Vienna were long and 
painstaking. The Emperor had scruples. The 
question was laid before theologians and jurists 
whether Hungary had rebelled as a nation and 
thereby forfeited her rights and privileges.^ It 
was answered in the affirmative. Conferences of 
the leading statesmen were held to decide whether 
a public declaration ought to be made for the 
purpose, whether the governor should be a German 
or a Hungarian, and to draw up in detail his 
instructions. No Hungarian took part in these 
deliberations. It was rightly judged that every 
one of them, even the most loyal, even those who 
were to receive a seat in the new governing 
board, would oppose the plan. When everything 

1 See the text of this memorial and the instructions issued by the Emperor 
in Karolyi's essay, the latter also in Wolf, p. 340. 

^ " An Hungaria rebellaverit in forma universitatis." 


was prepared, the appointment of a German of 
princely rank decided, and John Caspar Ampringen, 
the Grand Master of the Order of Teutonic Knights, 
selected for the office, it became necessary to 
obtain the Primate's resignation of his functions 
as lord-lieutenant, which he had exercised since 
the vacancy of the palatinate. He raised a spirited 
protest, and declared that the introduction of the 
new government was impossible unless the King 
abolished all the laws and liberties of the country, 
which he was bound by oath to maintain. Before 
him, on another occasion, the Hungarian Chancellor, 
Bishop Palffy, had urged the convocation of a diet, 
for which the times were propitious, and which 
alone could work out the necessary reforms. But 
Count Forgach, also one of the loyal magnates 
and Nadasdy's successor as judex curiae, had hit 
the nail on the head when in his cynical way he 
had told a deputation of citizens, who had asked 
for his intervention against the new taxes, that 
power and strength make short work of argu- 
ments.^ On February 27, 1673, the royal patent 
establishing the new order of things appeared, and 
a month later Ampringen was solemnly installed 
in his office. 

But the fruit of all these long deliberations 
and efforts was a still-born child. In itself there 
was nothing abnormal in the desire which then 

1 He had put it more drastically, " Potestas at fortitude merdunt rationibus 
super collum." 

INTRODUCTION 1657-1700 55 

prevailed in Vienna. The same forces were at 
work everywhere on the Continent of Europe. 
Had the circumstances been reversed, the case 
most likely would have been the same. A Hun- 
garian king ruling from Buda over Austria would 
as probably have striven to make his rule uniform 
and to establish a great Danubian power. He 
certainly would have stood for the extension of 
royal authority, and whether Catholic or Pro- 
testant, would have followed the principle in force 
then everywhere — *'cujus est regio ejus et religio." 
But an undertaking like this could only succeed 
either by the consent of the governed or by 
the employment of force overwhelming and con- 
tinuous. Austria as yet had done nothing to win 
the affections of the Hungarians, and her Ministers 
miscalculated the importance of their triumph when 
they thought that they had broken the spirit of the 
country. In reality their hold over it depended 
on the constellations of their foreign relations. 
These had been favourable in 1671, but were now 
on the point of turning against them. 

Ampringen himself has left no mark on Hun- 
garian history. He seems to have been an honest, 
well-meaning man, moderate and fair in his views.^ 
But his powers were on paper. That the Hun- 

^ Very little is known of Ampringen's personality. Schlosser's Allgemeine 
Geschichte^ vol. xiii. p. 280, and Horvath, Hungarian History, vol. ii. p. 280, 
give rather an unfavourable account of him, calling him lazy, fond of drink, 
and brutal. He must certainly have had other qualities to recommend 
him to men like Lobkowitz and Hocher, and his despatches to the 
Emperor in the Vienna archives show that his feelings were not brutal 
and justify the judgment above. 


garians should keep aloof from him was natural, 
for they hated the whole innovation. What was 
worse for the object of his mission was that the 
Austrian generals also paid no attention to his 
authority. Nor were his advice and complaints 
listened to in Vienna. It seemed as if with the 
fall of Lobkowitz the spirit had gone out of the 
new institution. In vain did Ampringen try to 
work for the protection of the common people 
and the maintenance of discipline amongst the 
Imperial troops, in vain did he raise his voice 
against the persecutions of the Protestants and 
for the re-establishment of confidence between 
crown and nation.^ Thoroughly disgusted with 
his office he left Pozsony in 1677 never to return. 

The resistance the absolute government had 
met was not merely a passive one. Many of the 
men who had been implicated in Francis Rakoczi 
I.'s uprising had fled to Turkish territory or into 
Transylvania, where they received moral sympathy 
and underhand succour. They began by organizing 
a guerilla warfare, and already, in 1672, were able 
to make an inroad into North-Eastern Hungary and 
collect 1 5,000 men around them. Their oppor- 
tunities improved when the Emperor went to war 
with France in the next year. The movement 
gained in strength and extent when the religious 
persecutions began, and when the Primate cited the 
Protestant preachers before his tribunal and gave 

1 Wolf, pp. 355-359 ; Karolyi, pp. 65-68. 

INTRODUCTION 1657-1700 57 

them the choice between renunciation, emigration, 
and the galleys. For the next twenty years the 
unfortunate country was the scene of an internecine 
struggle, which entailed upon its inhabitants suffer- 
ings and horrors comparable only with those that 
Germany had undergone during the Thirty Years* 
War/ The fortunes of warfare flowed forward and 
backward, but whether it were the kurucz — for it 
was in those days that the champions of the national 
cause took that name and called their compatriots, 
who remained loyal to the reigning house, labancz 
— who made themselves masters of forts, towns, or 
open country, or the Imperial soldiers who retook 
them, the result for the inhabitants was the same, 
namely, executions varied with tortures, pillage, and 
ransom. And when for a short time the antagonists 
laid down their arms, and kurucz and labancz 
caroused together, it was still at the expense of 
the common people, as a contemporary chronicler 

Doubts now arose in Vienna as to the wisdom 
of the measures taken. It was evident that the 
Ampringen regime had not produced the expected 
results. Three years after its institution the first 
attempts at conciliation were made, amnesty and free 
exercise of the Protestant religion being offered to 
the kurucz. Shortly afterwards the Emperor called 
some of the loyal magnates to Vienna to consult 

^ Katona, the historian of Hungary, says of those times that he not only 
shudders at but abhors their sad memory (xxxiv. p. 205). 


with them about the pacification of the country. 
They all, and Ampringen with them, advised the 
election of a palatine, withdrawal of German troops, 
appointment of Hungarian commanders in towns 
and fortresses, and altogether a return to constitu- 
tional ways. The Austrian Ministers were of 
opinion that one might as well expect to save a 
ship from being wrecked by throwing the wheel 
overboard. But their own prescriptions were of 
as little effect, and in spite of General Kopp's 
draconic measures, the insurrection grew more 
formidable every year. On the instigation of 
Lewis XIV., Apaffy began to show his sympathy 
in a more active way, and in 1677 a treaty of 
alliance was concluded between him and the 
Hungarian insurgents, under the auspices of the 
French Minister in Poland, by which each side was 
to bring 15,000 men into the field, France to furnish 
the money, and the Prince's Prime Minister to take 
the command. 

Deliberations, conferences, and negotiations 
continued during the next four years. Every 
Hungarian consulted saw the only hope for peace 
in the re-establishment of the legal order of things. 
Hocher still held out. The choice of this person 
for the management of things was certainly an 
unfortunate one. At Pozsony he told the Hungarian 
delegates with whom he conferred that their whole 
nation was one of rebels. The men whom he thus 
insulted had seen their estates laid waste by the 


kurucz, and knew that their lives would be in 
danger if they fell into their hands. Bishop Palffy 
answered in tones of befitting indignation, and the 
conference broke up. Then the Primate asked the 
kurucz leaders to name their conditions. When 
they had done so the Peace of Nymwegen was 
concluded, and they were told that they had to lay 
down their arms before their wishes could be 
considered. But the peace with France was 
precarious, and a new war-cloud was rising in the 
East. The final outcome of all these forward and 
backward moves was that the absolute government 
was abolished, the constitution re-established, and 
a diet called for 1681. In Vienna the desire for 
conciliation was sincere.^ But in Hungary the lead 
had passed into the hands of a man who had his 
own aims, and these could only be attained by war. 

It would be an injustice to the men who have 
led Hungarian revolutions before and after him to 
put Emerich Tokoli ^ on the same level with them. 
He was not a far-seeing statesman like Bocskay, 

^ For the history of the events described above, and those to follow, see 
Szalay, vol. v. pp. 148-228, and Ono Klopp's masterly work on The Turkish 
War of i68j' 

2 Born 1657. His great-grandfather had enriched himself as a horse- 
dealer, distinguished himself at the reconquest of Gyor (1598), been made a 
baron, and through his marriage with Susan Doczi allied himself to some of 
the greatest families of the country. His grandfather further added to the 
importance of the family by marrying a lady of the family of Thurzo, and 
by his fidelity to Ferdinand H. His father was made a count, but became 
implicated in the Wesselenyi Nadasdy conspiracy, and died in his stronghold 
of Arva, while Count Esterhazy was laying siege to it in the name of the 
Emperor (1670). Count Emerich then fled to Transylvania, where he grew 
up amongst the exiles, and where his wealth and talents soon put him into 
the front rank. In 1678 they elected him their leader, and their movement 
at once gained in energy and definiteness. 


nor an unselfish patriot like Francis Rakoczi H. 
The type he resembles is that of the Italian con- 
dottieri of the Renaissance period. He was brave 
and cunning, and possessed the faculties for action 
and the gifts for command. But the aim of all his 
ambition was to carve out of the Hungarian territory, 
still free from the Turkish yoke, another semi- 
independent principality for himself. For this end 
he continued the rebellion and made himself the 
tool of Turkey.^ His intellectual error was as 
great as his moral wrong. Had he succeeded, the 
fate of Hungary would, in all likelihood, have been 
the same as that which Servia and Bulgaria suffered. 
It is true that he flattered himself with the hope of 
being able, with the aid of France, ultimately to 
play false to his Turkish protectors. All three, 
King Lewis XIV., the new grand vizier, and Tokoli, 
were working together with the idea of making use 
of each other. Only it might have been clear to 
the latter that he, being the weakest of the three, 
would finally pay the cost of the game, no matter 
how it turned. Fortunately for his country, although 
unfortunately for himself, he pinned his faith to the 
losing side and went down with Turkey. 

As yet, however, he had not unveiled his plans. 
He refused to come to the diet at Soprony, but 

1 Formally he was Turkey's ally, had been invested by the Sultan with 
the title of King of Upper Hungary, and later appointed Prince of Transylvania. 
But the real esteem in which allies and henchmen like him were held by the 
Turks is shown by the words of the Sultan's envoy, Sulfikar, to the Austrian 
commissioners when they asked for his surrender, "TokoH is the Sultan's 
cur, about whose life or death the Porte does not care much, but the embassy 
has not come to Vienna in order to kill him." 

INTRODUCTION 1657-1700 6i 

he continued to negotiate with the Imperial Govern- 
ment. He even went with the Emperor's Com- 
missioner, Baron Saponara, to the Pasha of Buda, 
ostensibly to mediate for peace, in reaHty to obtain 
from the Sultan his nomination as King of Upper 
Hungary. What was uppermost in his mind at 
the time was his marriage with Rakoczi's widow, 
Helena Zrinyi, and as the Emperor was the guardian 
of her children and their immense fortune, they 
both wished to conclude their alliance with his 

In the meanwhile the danger of a new war 
with Turkey approached nearer. In Vienna the 
Emperor and his council feared it, but did not fully 
understand its nature. They attributed it entirely 
to the machinations of Lewis XIV., whereas Kar^ 
Mustapha had been resolved on aggression ever 
since he had succeeded Ahmed Koprili as grand 
vizier (1676). Wishing for peace, the Imperial 
Ministers hoped to maintain it through measures 
of conciliation, and thus repeated the mistake 
which their predecessors had made twenty years 
ago. They sent Count Caprera on a special 
mission to . Constantinople, and they obtained the 
Emperor's consent to Tokoli's marriage.^ The new 
Ambassador soon informed his senders that the only 

^ The main motive for the conciliatory attitude towards Tokoli was the 
hope to gain his effective mediation with the Porte. But the Imperial 
Ministers also feared that if the Emperor withheld his consent, Tokoli and 
Helen Rakoczi would marry without it, and finally they saw in this marriage 
a welcome brand of discord between Tokoli and Apaffy's Minister, Teleky, to 
whose daughter the former had been engaged before. 


chance to avert war was to prepare for it, and as 
an introduction to knock Tokoli on the head. On 
June 15, 1682, the latter s wedding took place. 
Nine days later he denounced the armistice, took 
Kassa and Fulek by force of arms, and issued a 
proclamation announcing his alliance with Turkey, 
accusing the Emperor of playing false to the nation, 
ordering a general uprising, and threatening those 
who would not join him with forfeiture of their 
lives and estates. And when the representatives 
of the countries whom he had called to vote the 
supplies demurred, he repeated his orders in sterner 
tones, and told them that he was their prince and 
master and would himself fix the contributions.^ 
While he was speaking these words (May 1683) 
the Sultan was at Belgrade with an army of 
250,000 men, which Kara Mustapha was to lead 
on Vienna. 

The events which follow belong to the world's 
history. Before the walls of Vienna the conquering 
power of Turkey was finally broken, and the tide 
which during three centuries had menaced Christian 
civilization not only stemmed but pushed back. 
During six years the Imperial armies marched from 
victory to victory, from conquest to conquest, Buda, 
the old capital of Hungary, was reconquered, the 
ties which bound Transylvania to Turkey severed, 
Belgrade taken, Bosnia occupied. In 1689. the 
Imperial eagles were planted on the walls of Nisz 

1 Szalay, vol. v. p. 253. 

INTRODUCTION 1657-1700 63 

on the south-eastern frontier of Servia, the road 
to Constantinople seemed open, and in the Imperial 
council the question was discussed whether the war 
should be continued until the Turks were driven 
out of Europe/ Then, again, a new war broke 
out with France and arrested further progress in 
the East. 

Complicated indeed was the position of Leopold 
I., manifold and conflicting the rights, interests, 
and obligations springing therefrom. He wore the 
Imperial crown, he was, or considered himself, the 
heir to the Spanish line of his house, and he was 
King of Hungary. Lewis XIV. likewise claimed 
the Spanish succession for himself or his house, 
and he had not abandoned the hope of securing the 
reversion of the Imperial crown, which he had failed 
to win in 1658. His attitude with regard to the 
Turkish War was dominated by the hope that Vienna 
would fall, the House of Austria finally go down, 
and Germany then turn to him as the bulwark of 
Christianity.^ In Vienna he was considered a more 
dangerous and irreconcilable enemy than Turkey.^ 
The Peace of Nymwegen had proved but a hollow 

1 See the memorial of Count Jorger on the subject of November i, 1689, 
reprinted in full in Klopp, p. 453. 

2 Klopp, pp. 68-70 and 263. 

2 On the nth of August 1682 a great council was held in Vienna, where 
the question of war against France or Turkey was discussed. The view 
prevailed that the former was the more dangerous enemy, that arrangements 
with Turkey had more stability than those with Lewis XIV., that what was 
lost in the East might be won back in time, whereas a useful and safe peace 
with the French king was impossible, and even an insecure one only obtain- 
able by the annulment of the alliances recently concluded with Holland, Spain, 
and Sweden. 


truce. Shortly after it Lewis XIV. had begun his 
so-called reunions, taken Strassburg in time of peace, 
laid siege to Luxemburg. Now (1688) he sent his 
army across the Rhine to invade the Palatinate. 
In the same year the great revolution occurred in 
England, and in the coming spring the alliance 
between the Emperor and William of Orange was 
concluded. The troops were withdrawn from 
Hungary and Servia and sent to the Rhine ; a 
reflux of Turkish aggression followed. Belgrade 
was retaken, Buda in danger, but further advance 
arrested by the Margrave of Baden's victory at 
Salankemen ( 1 69 1 ). The E mperor then was desirous 
to make peace, but the Turks would not finally give 
up what they had lost. The Imperial troops being 
too feeble in number, the Turks too exhausted and 
demoralized, the war stagnated. In 1697 Peace 
of Ryswick was concluded, and in the same year the 
victory of Zenta was won by Prince Eugen. It led 
to the Peace of Carlowitz, on the basis of actual 
possession. A strip of Hungary — the banate of 
Temesvar — remained in Turkey's power, to be 
reconquered twenty years later. Otherwise the 
unity of the kingdom was restored and its frontiers 
drawn as they have remained ever since. 

Deep had been the impression of the Christian 
victories, great the rejoicing over the reconquest of 
Buda. But by the time that the final peace v/as 
concluded the effects of these feelings had vanished, 
sullen discontent reigned in Hungary, the irritation 

INTRODUCTION 1657-1700 65 

on both sides was as great as in the decades 
preceding the war.^ 

The spirit of conciliation which had prevailed in 
Vienna in 1681 did not die at once when the danger 
had passed. It manifested itself in the general 
amnesty offered in 1684, and three years later in 
the convocation of a diet which was to vote the 
reforms deemed most urgent or desirable. When 
the Imperial forces had retreated before Kara 
Mustapha's overwhelming numbers and everything 
seemed lost, many of the loyal nobles and counties 
had submitted to the Turks or even joined them. 
They now returned to their true allegiance, and in 
the ensuing campaigns the Hungarians took their 
share. About 25,000 of them fought in the royal 
ranks, many of them, like Batthyany, Nadasdy, the 
two Bercsenyis, father and son, and Bottjan, achiev- 
ing distinction. Tokoli still held out, continuing to 
play the part of a sovereign prince by the Sultan's 
grace, issuing manifestos and addresses, and resorting 
to persecution and violence.^ But for all that his 

1 For the history of this period see, of Hungarian authors, Histoire des 
Revolutions, Szalay, vols. v. vi. chaps. 21, 22 ; Acsady, Hungary under the 
Reign of Leopold I. ; Thaly, Life of Bercsenyi, vol. ii. ; Salamon, Hungary 
under Turkish Conquest, Of Austrians, Arneth, Life of Starhemberg and of 
Prince Eugen ; Klopp, Maurer^ Life of Kollonics, Innsbruck, 1887 ; Krones, 
Archiv fiir dsterr. Geschichte,\o\. xlii., 1870; 2i\so Pontes rerm?i Austriacarum. 

2 When the garrison of Fulek surrendered {1682), its commander, Count 
Stephen Kohary, had refused to sign the capitulation and called Tokoli to his 
face a slave of Turkey. For this Tokoli kept him in a dungeon for two 
years, until he was delivered by the Imperial troops. His behaviour on this 
occasion has earned him the surname of the "ever faithful." Whether 
Tokoli had actually beheaded Count Homonnay, who had accepted the 
Emperor's amnesty, as his contemporary Szirmay tells, is doubted by Szalay, 
vol. V. p, 284. Engel tells that he sent also the two sons of Count Barkoczy 
to the block, and Ketteler that fifteen Hungarian magnates were impaled by 
his orders. u. 


cause was down. In the course of 1685 North- 
Eastern Hungary was recovered for the King, its 
towns and fortresses surrendered : Munkacs alone, 
the great stronghold of the Rakoczis, which Tokoli's 
wife defended, held out. 

It was unfortunate that the effect of the Emperor's 
conciliatory disposition should have been marred by 
the senseless cruelty of one of his generals. The 
elation over the triumph of Buda was still at its 
height when General Caraffa held those bloody 
assizes at Eperjes (February-May 1687) which to 
this day are spoken of in Hungary, like those of 
Jeffreys in England. The responsibility for them 
belongs to Caraffa alone, and cannot be laid at the 
door of the Emperor or his advisers in Vienna. On 
the random gossip of some camp-following women 
he had imagined that he had discovered the threads 
of a widespread conspiracy, written to Vienna, urged 
the necessity of repression, asked for instructions, 
and received the answer to proceed according to 
Hungarian law, and to remember that nobody was 
to be called to account for acts covered by the 
amnesty. Thereupon he constituted a special 
tribunal, of which he named the judges, and himself 
took the chair. It proceeded after no law at all, 
but simply sent those whom it had cited as accused 
to the block. In three sittings sixteen of the 
wealthiest landowners and citizens were condemned 
to death. When the Palatine Esterhazy remon- 
strated against these persecutions, Caraffa went so 

INTRODUCTION 1657-1700 67 

far in his madness as to throw suspicions on his 
loyalty and even that of the Margrave of Baden — 
the President of the Board of War. Then orders 
came from Vienna to stop further proceedings.^ 

The scaffold still stood in Eperjes when the Diet 
assembled at Pozsony. The shadow it has left 
behind it has been used to cast a doubt on the vote 
of the latter. Contemporaries, who were dissatisfied 
with the establishment of heredity and the abolition 
of the right of armed resistance, and who shortly 
afterwards tried to declare them invalid, pretended 
that the Diet had voted them under intimidation. 
Later historians have repeated the accusation. 
In reality, the representatives of the country at 
Pozsony had no more to fear from Caraffa than 
from the guns of the fortress, of which it was also 
pretended that they were turned on their houses of 
meeting.^ Whichever way they may have been 
placed, it is certain that they would not have been 
fired off, and that the Hungarian Parliament did not 
vote the royal propositions from fear of being blown 
up. Unpopular the latter undoubtedly were, in 
spite of the gratitude owed and felt for the country's 

^ With regard to Caraffa, Austrian and foreign writers agree with 
Hungarian ones. Aheady Rink says that the whole conspiracy has been 
invented by him (i. 199); Vico, his compatriot and panegyrist, that in matters 
of high treason he took his suspicions for facts. And Arneth, the well-known, 
meritorious, and highly patriotic historian, declares it "highly regrettable that 
the splendour of the Emperor's victories should have been tarnished by 
Carafifa's cruelty against the partakers in a conspiracy which had hardly ever 
existed " {Life of Guido Starhemberg), 

2 The members of both houses discussed the proceedings of the tribunal of 
Eperjes in all freedom and without any restraint of language, and insisted on 
its abolition. 


liberation. Strong pressure was used to get them 
passed, but it was not different in its nature from 
the means employed at all times and in all countries 
by Governments on reluctant assemblies. 

The two constitutional amendments which have 
made the Diet of 1687 an epoch-making one were 
wise and opportune. For one hundred and sixty 
years the question whether the crown was hereditary 
or elective had divided king and nation. That the 
former now asked the latter to settle it was in itself 
an acknowledgment of its rights. But the election 
had ceased to be a reality. Had it remained so, 
Hungary would hardly have escaped the fate of 
Poland. As for the right of armed resistance, 
which the barons of the thirteenth century had 
wrung from King Andreas H., it is clear that in 
theory it was subversive of all law and order, and 
that in practice its value depended on the power of 
those who tried to exercise it, and not on its being 
embodied in Article XXXI. of the Golden Bull. 
That article had not saved Nadasdy and Zrinyi from 
the block ; its absence would not have prevented 
Bocskay from becoming a prince. No such law had 
existed in England, where both Oliver Cromwell 
and Monmouth had carried arms against their 
kings — with what different' results history tells. 

But the Hungarians of 1687 were still rooted 
with their feelings and their views in the Middle 
Ages. To them the sacrifice seemed great. What 
they saw above all was the loss of a privilege and 

INTRODUCTION 1657-1700 69 

the assimilation of some of their institutions with 
those of Austria ; what they feared was that these 
first steps would lead to others, and finally to 
the establishment of absolute rule. Subsequent 
events proved that these fears were not groundless. 

Lobkowitz, Montecucoli, and Hocher were 
slumbering in their graves, but their ideas and 
aspirations had not died with them. Now they 
gained new vigour from the Imperial victories. In 
Austria the opinion was general that the Emperor 
had reconquered Hungary with German blood 
and money from Turks and rebels, that, therefore, 
he could endow it with such institutions as he 
pleased, and that he yielded far too much when 
he asked the Estates to crown his son, and allowed 
the latter to take the oath on the constitution.^ 
Leopold I. did not act on these views, but in 
his opening speech he declared that he had an 
undoubted right to do so. His principal Ministers 
of the day. Prince Dietrichstein,^ the Margrave 
Hermann of Baden,^ and Strattmann,* were not 

1 Rink, p. 851. 

2 Prince Ferdinand Dietrichstein was Obersthofmeister from 1682 to 1698. 
He too thought that Hungary ought to be governed like the hereditary 
countries (Maurer, Life of Kollonics, p. 447). But although he held the 
highest office in the Empire and presided at the Cabinet conferences, he was not a 
man who cared to assert himself. For his mild and retiring disposition see 
the description of Venier of 1692 in Pontes, vol. xxvii. p. 313. 

^ He chiefly had advocated a conciliatory policy towards Tokoli, and had 
even been accused by CarafFa of partiality for the pretended Hungarian 

* One of Leopold's ablest Ministers, who had succeeded Hocher as 
Chancellor of Austria in 1683. He too was a foreigner by birth, who had 
neither connections nor protections in Austria, and owed his rise and position 
to his talents and their appreciation by the Emperor. Like Hocher, he had 
great capacity for work ; unlike him, he was not merely a jurist but a statesman 


men of an uncompromising nature ; the two former 
were always more inclined to moderation than 
to thoroughgoing measures. But they were men 
more apt to follow a current than to stem or 
direct it. The man who has left the stamp of 
his individuality on the times was Cardinal Kol- 

The figure of the illustrious cardinal appears 
in a different light according as to whether it 
is seen from the west or the east of the river 
Leitha. That Kollonics was a churchman of 
unbounded zeal, charity, courage and self-sacrifice, 
friends and foes acknowledge. The hundreds of 
orphans of whom he took care, the poor amongst 
whom he distributed his inheritance, the unfortunate 
women whom he saved from being burned as 
witches, the pestilence -stricken parishioners in 

and diplomatist, a man of the world, amiable and polite. The guiding motive 
of his political activity was zeal for his Imperial master's interests and 
greatness. Through the marriage of his daughter (who was famous for her 
beauty) with Count Batthany, he became personally connected with Hungary, 
where he had received the indigenat (1687). He died in 1693. For his life 
and character see the account of Corvins and Venier in Fontes, also cited by 
Arneth Prince Eugen, pp. 453 and 454, and an article of Schlotter in 
Biographisches Lexicon. 

^ Born in 1631 of an old and illustrious family, page of Ferdinand IV. at 
the age of fourteen, a Knight of the Order of St. John five years later, he took 
part in the Candian expeditions against the Turks, 165 1 and 1655, when he 
distinguished himself by his bravery. When the bishopric of Nyitra became 
vacant in 1666, Leopold I. singled him out for it, although he had not yet been 
ordained a priest. He forthwith entered into the political strife of the day, 
and already then was looked upon as a standard-bearer of Imperial power. 
Three years later, in order to facilitate conciliation, he exchanged his diocese 
for the Austrian one of Wiener Neustadt. In 1674 he was made a member 
of the Ampringen Government, President of the Hungarian Treasury, and 
during twelve years administered the finances of Hungary. In 1685 he 
became Bishop of Gyor, 1686 Cardinal, 1688 Archbishop ofKalocsa, 1695 of 
Esztergom and Primate of Hungary. From 1688 on he exercised a leading 
influence on Hungarian affairs. He died in 1706. For his biography see 
Maurer, also Krones' essay in Handbuch fiir osterr. Geschichte. 

INTRODUCTION 1657-1700 71 

whose midst he remained bear evidence to those 
quahties. But his historical activity was political, 
not ecclesiastical ; its field lay in Hungary, and 
there it was most resolutely hostile to all that 
was dearest to the nation. The reforms he meant 
to introduce, beneficent as some of them would 
have been, were no offset to the loss of national 
existence and constitutional liberty. 

Of reconstruction Hungary certainly stood in 
need. On no Christian country had the curse of 
Ottoman conquest fallen with such heavy weight.^ 
For 160 years Turkish Hungary had been de- 
batable ground, where border warfare, inroads, and 
depredations were continuous. The now-recovered 
parts were a wilderness, wide tracts of land were un- 
inhabited, boroughs and villages had disappeared, 
once flourishing towns lay in dirt and ruins.^ In 
the rest of the country progress had been arrested 
by civil strife and the ever-present Turkish danger, 
justice was slow and uncertain, administration lame, 
the sources of revenue scanty and unjust, the way of 
raising it arbitrary. When the Diet was assembled 
in 1687 the Palatine had asked it to appoint a 
commission which should at once draft and put 
into form a whole system of administrative reforms 

1 On the condition of Hungary under Turkish rule see the work of 
Salamon cited above. 

2 Buda, Visegrad, Eger, Fehervar, Pecs all shared that fate. In the 
fifteenth century a German traveller had compared Buda to Augsburg ; for 
what it looked like under the Turks we have the descriptions of Gerlach, 
Schweig, Bocatius, and Leshe, who visited it in 1573, 1576, 1605, and 1666 
respectively. The once famous castle of Mathias Corvinus was crumbling, 
its art treasures and library had disappeared. 


and corresponding constitutional changes. But 
the Estates held that this was a thing for themselves 
to do, and that for the moment they had done 
enough. Then a commission of Austrians was 
named for the purpose, with Kollonics at its head> 
and by the end of 1689 it had elaborated the 
reconstruction plan which bears the Cardinal's 

It was the unfortunate fate of this work that all 
that was good in it remained on paper, while what was 
hostile in its spirit was put into life. The Cardinal's 
ideal was to make Hungary an orderly, docile, and 
well-governed province of an Austrian Empire, and 
to bring it back to the Catholic faith.^ The two 
poles are no farther asunder than his aims were 
from those of the French revolutionists a century 
later. But with regard to the obstacles in his way, 
and his right to overcome them, his views resembled 
theirs. Like them he thought he could make a 
clean sweep of the past and build anew on founda- 
tions such as he considered right and useful. Had 
it depended on him alone there would have been 
small hesitation about the execution. But the 
Emperor's resolutions did not keep pace with those 
of his fiery adviser. The plan appealed to him, 
but if possible he wanted to get it carried out by 
smooth means. 

1 The Cardinal's ideas and convictions are clearly and tersely expressed in 
his own words when he told the assembled magnates in 1696 "that the 
Emperor could give no greater proof of his fatherly affection for Hungary than 
by wishing to govern it as he did his other hereditary provinces." 


Of all the ills which Hungary had to suffer in 
those days none was more acutely felt than the 
excesses of the soldiery and the imperious bearing 
of their officers. This old-standing grievance had 
become harsher than ever owing to the emptiness of 
the Imperial Treasury and the feeling of conquest/ 
Kollonics fully recognized it, but at the same time 
he was convinced that real redress could only come 
from a reform of the financial system. His long 
experience as head of the Hungarian Board of 
Treasury enabled him to speak with authority. His 
reconstruction scheme included the proposition that 
Hungary ought to contribute 4 million florins a 
year to the Imperial Exchequer — about double the 
sum it had paid before — and that the taxes should 
be borne not only by the peasants and tenants, but 
also by the hitherto exempt classes, the landowning 
nobility and gentry. 

To lay out new taxes and to alter the laws of 
the country required the consent of Parliament. 
But the Austrian statesmen had no mind to con- 
voke it. The disposition of the nation was not 
promising, and the later reverses of the Turkish 
War had dimmed the feelings of gratitude and hope 
under the influence of which the changes of 1687 
had been voted, so they resorted to an inter- 
mediate measure, and tried to make their proposi- 

1 See the cases of Generals Huyn, Corbelli, Auersperg, and several others 
in Thaly, Bercsenyi, vol. ii. All Austrian authors recognize that the 
Hungarian complaints were justified. Kollonics' own words bear ample 
testimony to it. 


tions palatable to a chosen few. A convention of 
notable and representative Hungarians was called 
to Vienna (1696), where the reconstruction plan was 
officially communicated to them and they were 
asked to accept it. The distinction of having voiced 
their feelings belongs to Paul Szech6nyi, Archbishop 
of Kalocsa. It was he who first found the courage^ 
to appeal to the constitution, and to declare that 
what they were asked to do belonged to the diet 
and not to a private assembly.^ 

The attempt was renewed two years later, with 
the same negative result. The Hungarians declared 
that the principle of general taxation was fair, the 
common people overburdened, and that they had 
acknowledged it by voluntarily reducing the obliga- 
tion of their tenants to gratuitous labour. But what 
was asked of them was too much. Again they 
referred to a diet and petitioned the King to con- 
voke it. He dismissed them angrily, telling them 
that he had appealed to them to alleviate the misery 
of the common people, but that their only idea 
seemed to be to pay little or nothing at all.^ 

As the consent of the nation could not be 
obtained, the Imperial Government proceeded to do 

^ For an account of their feelings see Karolyi's Autobiography, p. 45 : 
" We all fell into despair, fearing that inside of that strong stone- walled 
garden we would be ground to pieces." 

2 When the assembly separated Kollonics told Szechenyi not to be over- 
confident, as the Emperor would yet find means to bend the nation towards 
the accomplishment of his wishes, to which the Archbishop replied that he 
did not doubt it, but that there was a great difference between accomplishing 
a thing by free consent and by force. 

3 Maurer, pp. 361-362. 

INTRODUCTION 1657-1700 75 

without it. The constitution was not again formally 
suspended, but actually it was put out of force ; the 
Hungarian institutions and offices were not abolished 
but practically deprived of all authority. The new 
contribution was imposed on the country by royal 
order/ and other indirect taxes introduced, of which 
the raising of the price of salt was particularly irksome. 
When the Palatine or the Hungarian Chancellor 
raised their voices against the exactions of the soldiery 
their representations remained without effect. The 
most important measures were resolved without any 
participation of the nation. A beginning of German- 
ization was made by the introduction of the German 
language at all tax and other financial offices ; a 
commission was established for disposing of the land 
in the newly recovered territories ; ^ the Jazygians 
and Roumanians, who had always been freeholders, 
were mortgaged with their lands and labour for 
half-a-million florins to the Order of the Teutonic 
knights ; the Servians, who had taken refuge in 
Hungary during the war to the number of about 
80,000, finally settled in it despite the protestations 
of the counties and the frontier guard entrusted 

1 Originally it had been decided that the free towns were to pay yV of the 
4 millions, the landowners ^, and the peasant tenants | of the rest, which 
would have made the respective shares 250,000, 1,250,000, and 2,500,000 fl. 
At the conference in Vienna the Hungarians had declared that the landowners 
could only pay ^Jy part, viz. 80,000 fl., and finally their share was fixed at 
250,000 fl. 

2 The descendants of the original owners deprived by the Turks had 
always maintained their titles, and now claimed that the reconquered estates 
should be restituted to them. The Austrian Government assented in principle, 
but insisted that the titles should be proved and a war -tax paid for the 
recovery. The principle was just, but its execution through foreign com- 
missions gave rise to continuous troubles and grievances. 


to them ; and finally new measures were taken 
against the Protestants, some of their schools closed, 
their preachers imprisoned, and all of them excluded 
from the recovered territory. 

To the constitutional and material grievances was 
added the mortification of suffered neglect. None 
of the great Hungarian nobles was ever admitted 
to any real influence on the Empire's policy, although 
there were men of undoubted loyalty and ability 
amongst them — men who, like Palatine Esterhazy, 
had worked zealously and successfully for the 
establishment of heredity, or, like Kohary, who had 
preferred Tokoli's dungeon to the abandonment of 
his fidelity. Esterhazy was made a prince of the 
Roman Empire, but having received his reward he 
was shelved, and, like the rest of his countrymen, 
had to spend his activity in sterile endeavours 
either to bend the nation to its sovereign's will 
or to make the latter's Austrian advisers listen to 
its complaints. And as if to top it all and make 
it manifest that Hungary had indeed become a 
negligible quantity, the Peace of Carlowitz was 
concluded without her participation or representa- 
tion, notwithstanding the article of law passed in 
1687 stipulating for the contrary. 

The nation could only vent its discontent in 
words. To proceed to deeds and try conclusions 
with the Emperor's armies would have seemed hope- 
less madness. Driven to despair, the common people 
did it in the north-east in 1697. They knew little 

INTRODUCTION 1657-1700 77 

or nothing of the intentions and discussions in their 
favour, they were ground down by landlords, tax 
assessors, and most cruelly of all by the soldiers 
quartered on them ; they learned that more taxes 
would be exacted, and they lent a willing ear to 
Tokoli's emissaries, who once more appeared amongst 
them. A peasant revolt occurred, which was easily 
put down. There was no organized centre of re- 
sistance to lean upon anywhere. Transylvania was 
no more. As soon as the tide of war had turned 
against the Turks, Apaffy had endeavoured to link 
his cause to that of the Emperor. His negotiations 
led to the treaties of 1687 and 1688, by which 
Transylvania renounced all allegiance to Turkey 
and opened her frontiers to the Imperial armies. 
In return the Emperor confirmed Apaffy in his rights, 
and promised to maintain the liberties of the 
country, the form of government it had enjoyed 
hitherto, and the freedom of the four religions. With 
regard to the succession in the princely dignity he 
refused to take an engagement. When Apaffy died 
(April 1690) his son was a minor, and the Turks had 
resumed the offensive and named Tokoli prince. 
Once more, and for the last time, fortune seemed to 
smile on the latter and the fate of Transylvania to 
hang in the balance. In the autumn the Imperial 
troops had returned, and Leopold then issued the 
diploma which bears his name, and which to the 
middle of the nineteenth century remained the funda- 
mental law of the country. It was formally accepted 


by the Estates and in all essentials confirmed the 
provisions of the former treaties. The question 
whether the princely dignity should be maintained 
and young Apaffy succeed his father was left open 
during the former's minority. When he came of 
age he was prevailed upon to resign his claims, and 
in compensation was made a prince of the Empire 
and granted a pension. Henceforth Transylvania 
was an autonomous province under the immediate 
sovereignty of the Hungarian King. 

Again it was believed in Vienna that Hungary's 
spirit was finally broken. Had Austria been able 
to give her undivided force and attention to her 
sister's transformation, and had the balance of power 
between them remained as it then stood for a 
generation, it is possible that Kollonics' ideal might 
have been realized. That it came otherwise is 
mainly due to Francis Rakoczi H. 


Rakoczi's early life — The inherent difficulties of his position — Friend- 
ship with Bercsenyi and plans for a Hungarian uprising — 
Imprisonment, trial, escape, and exile in Poland. 

Francis Rakoczi II. was but three months old 
when the death of his father left him the sole male 
representative of his historic house and heir to its 
vast possessions.^ Great interests, hopes, and fears 
were centred round his cradle. In his last will 
his father had recommended him and his sister to 
the Emperor's protection, who later claimed their 
guardianship by virtue of this clause. But at first 
the children were entirely left in the hands of their 
mother. Under her tender care young Francis 
passed the first six years of his life, and they were 
the only ones in which it ran in normal grooves. 
He remained with her for six years more, but it was 

1 The acquisitive genius of the two first Rakoczis and their marriages with 
the heiresses of the LorantfFys and Bathorys had raised the fortune of their 
house from that of ordinary well-to-do country squires to or above the level 
of any ducal or princely house in Europe. The estates which Francis 
Rakoczi II. inherited spread over an area of about 2,400,000 acres. In- 
numerable castles and fortresses stood upon them. In the household of his 
father there were about 165 servants of all kinds, 237 castle- and 336 body- 
guards. Their yearly pay amounted to 42,670 florins in cash and 22,286 
florins in board and clothes. Yet when he had to pay the fine of 400,000 
florins he could only do it by borrowing money — 100,000 florins from his 
mother, 20,000 from the Primate, 47,000 from the Jesuits. 



in the environment of war, in which she took an 
active part. 

The storms began to gather when Helena Zrinyi 
remarried. Her first union had been a family 
arrangement. She had been a good and faithful 
wife to Francis Rakoczi I., had borne him three 
children/ but had never loved him. In her second 
marriage she obeyed only the promptings of her 
heart. Her love for Tokoli was absolute, deep, 
and submissive.^ At once it drew not only herself 
but her children also into the current of his schemes 
and wars. 

Their honeymoon was short. Immediately after 
his marriage Tokoli took to arms again, ^ and for 
the next three years spent more of his time in the 
field than at the fireside. In these campaigns he 
dragged his young stepson with him, exposing the 
child to all their hardships and privations, heat and 
cold, hunger and thirst. In his autobiography 
Rakoczi accuses his stepfather of having had the 
settled purpose to make him perish, and through 
his inheritance further his ambitions to a Hungarian 
crown.'* Tokoli's intentions remain a matter of 
surmise ; his acts prove his utter unscrupulousness, 
as well as his wife's yielding weakness in regard 
to him. Once only do we hear that she opposed 

1 George (born 1667) died a few months later; Juliana (born 1672), 
afterwards Countess of Aspremont ; and Francis (born 1676). 

2 " Usque ad extremum halitum cum eo in tanta patientia, humilitate et 
matrimoniali vel potius . . . famulari obsequitate vixit," Autobiography^ p. 8. 

3 See above, p. 62. 

* Vide Autobiography y pp. 8 and 9. 


his will, and that was when he had conceived the 
idea of regaining the shattered confidence of the 
Turks by putting the heir of the Rakoczis into 
their hands as hostage for his own fideHty. Every- 
where the Emperor's arms were in the ascendant ; 
his only refuge seemed to lie in repairing to the 
Pashah of Nagyvarad ; he was doubtful of the re- 
ception in store for him, and had explained to his 
wife that his plan was necessary for his own safety 
and harmless for the child. Already she had given 
her consent, but the last night brought better 
counsel. In the morning her tears prevailed, and 
Tokoli started alone. Francis Rakoczi was then 
nine years old, and it was for the last time that he 
set eyes on his stepfather. 

Two months after Tokoli's departure General 
Caraffa appeared before Munkacs and summoned 
Helena to admit a German garrison into the 
fortress. As the place belonged not to her husband 
but to her son, who as yet had no quarrel with 
the Emperor, she might well have yielded without 
betraying her trust. She refused, however, and 
for two years resisted the siege. Whether she 
acted wisely may be open to discussion, but her 
defence of Munkacs has lifted her out of the rank 
of ordinary women, and, adorned with the triple 
crown of beauty, misfortune, and heroism, Helena 
Zrinyi lives in Hungarian history.^ 

1 Munkacs fell by treason. The way it came about is also characteristic 
of Tokoli. At the end of 1687 the fortunes of the Turks had sunk very low, 
and in his despair Tokoli wrote to his wife that he had decided to place his 





One of the consequences of the defence of 
Munkacs was the separation of Rakoczi from his 
mother. According to the terms of the capitulation 
Helena Zrinyi was brought to Vienna with her 
children. There the Emperor took over their 
guardianship, and appointed Cardinal Kollonics to 
exercise it. Juliana, who was then in her sixteenth 
year, was put into a convent of Ursulines, where 
her mother was allowed to join her. Francis was 
sent to a Jesuit college in Bohemia. Four days 
after their arrival in Vienna he had to take leave 
of his mother, whom he was never to see again.^ 

Great was the change, and bitterly the boy felt 
it at first. In Munkacs he had lived amongst the 
dangers and privations of a siege, but he had 
enjoyed its excitements, and had a very keen feeling 
that he was lord and master and the central figure 
of it all. Now he was in the hands of strangers, 
forcibly separated from all his former surroundings,^ 
a schoolboy in a foreign country where with teachers 

last hope in the Pope, and asked her to send a minorite friar to Rome in 
order to obtain the intervention of the Holy See in his favour, and to promise 
in return his conversion to the Catholic faith. He added that he would 
henceforth be as staunch an enemy of Protestants as hitherto he had been 
their champion. Helena inadvertently gave the letter, together with her 
secret key, to Absalon, their confidential secretary, to decipher. He, a 
zealous Protestant, turned at once against his master, and together with 
Radics, the commander of the beleaguered forces, prepared for the capitula- 
tion by squandering the provisions. 

1 For the history of Helena Zrinyi's life, and that of Francis Rakoczi's 
earlier years, see Horvath Mihaly's Biography of Zrijiyi Ilona^ Budapest, 
1869, and Thaly Kalman, Francis RakoczVs Youth, 1676-1701^ Pozsony, 

2 Already in Vienna his faithful valet, Korossy, had been separated from 
him. Immediately after his arrival in Neuhaus his preceptor, Badinyi, who had 
accompanied him on the journey, was sent back by order of Kollonics, and he 
was left alone in his new surroundings. 


and fellow-pupils he could only make himself under- 
stood in Latin. But the Jesuits have at all times 
understood the art of making their pupils like their 
schools. The first grief once passed, such seems to 
have been the case with Rakoczi too. In his 
Autobiography he speaks without any bitterness of 
his stay at Neuhaus, and expressly mentions that 
he was liked and well received by everybody and 
aggrieved by none.^ After having finished his 
classical studies he was sent to the university of 
Prague. In the meantime his sister had married, 
and the trouble into which she got with Cardinal 
Kollonics through this step caused her brother to 
be called to Vienna and ended his studies.^ 

Rakoczi seems at this time to have been a 
youth of quiet and amiable manners, physically and 
mentally well developed, very good-looking, shy, 
but extremely proud, dignified, and lovable, 
possessing in a rare degree the gift of inspiring 
affection, eager to learn, chiefly interested in 
architecture, mathematics, and natural science, 
bored with philosophy and logic. The traits on 
which Saint Simon laid stress in the sketch he drew 
twenty years later of the exiled prince — nobility of 
purpose, dignity of appearance, tact and common 

1 "Amabar ubique ab omnibus per gratiam tuam et ubique recipiebar 
cum jucunditate et quia contristavi neminem a nemine contristatus sum." 
— Autoh. p. 24. 

2 In the archives of Vorosvar now in the possession of the Erdody family, 
who inherited it from the Aspremonts, there is a report from a Jesuit from 
Neuhaus — often quoted in Thaly's above-cited work — which, together with 
Rakoczi's own Autobiography, is the chief source for the history of this period 
of his life. 


sense, and the absence of any brilliant intellectual 
gifts — were noticeable already in the schoolboy of 

Suitors were not wanting for the hand of Juliana 
Rakoczi, who was very good-looking and one of the 
richest heiresses of Europe. She was still living 
with her mother in the Ursuline convent, and 
whoever wished to see them could only do so 
after having obtained the Emperor's or Cardinal 
Kollonics' consent. Rakoczi tells that it was the 
latter's intention that he should enter the Order of 
the Jesuits, and his sister take the veil, so that their 
House should become extinct and its possessions 
pass to the Church. The Cardinal's subsequent 
behaviour undoubtedly furnishes strong argument 
for the truth of this assertion. But whatever his 
views may have been, it is certain that the Emperor 
exercised no pressure in the matter, and let things 
take their course. The suitor who found favour in 
Juliana's eyes was Count Ferdinand Gobert 
Aspremont, Lieutenant-General in the Imperial 
Service, and as the Cardinal was then absent in 
Rome the marriage was celebrated without any 
difficulties by the Bishop of Vienna.^ No valid 
objection could be brought forward against the 
bridegroom, who was of ancient and illustrious 
lineage, blameless character, and unimpeachable 
loyalty. But when the Cardinal returned he seems 
to have been in a towering rage. Aspremont was 

1 June 24, 1691. 


imprisoned and put on trial for the surrender of 
Belgrade the year before, Juliana shut up in the 
convent of Tuln, and proceedings instituted to 
have the marriage annulled. But these endeavours 
proved vain ; shortly the couple were released and 
reunited. Then Kollonics refused to surrender 
Juliana's share of the Rakoczi inheritance. It was 
in the course of the lawsuit begun for this purpose 
that the other side obtained an order from the 
Emperor that Eakoczi should be brought to Vienna 
and heard in his own affairs. 

Helena Zrinyi was no more in Vienna when her 
son arrived. Fortune had smiled on Tokoli's arms 
for the last time in the summer of 1690.^ Her 
favour was short, but it brought about his reunion 
with his wife. Two Imperial generals had fallen 
into his hands, and the negotiations for their 
release led to the exchange of one of them for 
Helena Zrinyi. She would have wished to take 
her son with her, but this was naturally refused. 
In the spring of 1692 she had rejoined her husband,^ 
and for eleven years more she lived at his side, 
exiled from her country, separated from her children, 
dependent for her support and his on the generosity 

1 Vide p. 77. 

2 They met at Uj Palank in Southern Hungary, and Helena found her 
husband so aged and worn that she had difficulty in recognizing him. He was 
then but thirty-five, two years younger than her son-in-law Aspremont. In 
1694 a child was born to them, but it lived only a few months. As long as 
the war lasted the Tokolis lived in Servia, but after the peace they had, 
according to its terms, to be removed into the interior of Turkey. Nicomedia 
was assigned for their residence. Helena died there in 1703, and Tokoli 
two years later. 




of the Turks. It was a sad change from the 
splendour of her former surroundings, but she 
never faltered in her devotion nor regretted her 

Rakoczi was sixteen years old when he received 
the Emperor's order. Two years were yet wanting 
from the time when, according to Hungarian law, he 
could be declared of age. But no restrictions were 
imposed on him on this occasion, and he was left free 
to decide himself on the future course of his life. 
Kollonics desired that he should declare his full trust 
in him and, leaving the care of his interests in his — the 
Cardinal's — hands, return to Prague for the continu- 
ation of his studies. His sister represented to him 
that metaphysics and Austrian law would be of 
small use in his future life, that the time had come 
for him to take his proper place in the world, and 
that instead of fighting over their inheritance they 
might easily come to an amicable agreement. Her 
arguments and persuasions prevailed, but the fact 
that Rakoczi was allowed to do as he pleased proves 
that the Emperor had taken the decision out of 
Kollonics' hands into his own.^ 

^ Writing after the lapse of twenty eventful years, Rakoczi's Autobiography 
is not free of errors of memoi y. So in the narration of the present episode he 
says (p. 28) that his sister obtained the Imperial order for his coming to 
Vienna by representing that he had attained his eighteenth year, and then 
again (p. 31) that the Emperor had sent him on his Italian journey, 
although he had passed out of guardianship by virtue of law. In reality he 
was only sixteen when these events happened, and by law and in fact a 
minor. He was formally declared to be of age by Imperial decree of 
March 9, 1694, and he tells himself that he received its notification in Rome in 
the spring of 1694 (p. 40). It is therefore clear that he was granted the 
right to decide for himself in 1692, not by right but by special favour of the 
Emperor, who was his supreme guardian. 



It was in Vienna that the eyes of the young man 
first opened on the world and its ways. He enjoyed 
them, but if the outward course of his life at the 
time resembled that of other young men of his 
station, he soon learned that in reality his situation 
was different from theirs. A winter season in 
Vienna and the usual grand tour through Italy were 
followed by a visit to his estates in Hungary. It 
was there that he began to realize the difficulties and 
dangers of his position. The hearts of his country- 
men were ready to go out to him, but they closed 
up when they saw his foreign dress and manners. 
Even though suppressed, the expectations which 
attached to his name made him an object of suspicion 
in the eyes of Austrian authorities. And what his 
inexperience might have failed to perceive his 
brother-in-law, who had accompanied him on the 
excursion, stood ready to explain. All his interests, 
as well as the natural fitness of things, made it 
advisable that he should live on his estates. To 
counterbalance the suspicions which would follow 
him thither, Aspremont advised an early marriage, 
as well to ensure the succession of his line as to 
offer a guarantee to the Imperial court for not lightly 
plunging into political adventures. 

Aspremont's reasoning seemed sound and his 
counsel eminently disinterested. His own sister. 
Countess Althann, had a marriageable daughter 
at the time, between whom and Rakoczi — according 
to the latter's narrative — she wished to bring about 


a match. But Aspremont thought the young 
prince should aim higher. Already, before his 
departure for Italy, the project of his union with a 
princess of the House of Hesse Darmstadt had been 
brought forward, and negotiations for his betrothal 
had so far advanced that he had thought it his duty 
to inform the Imperial court of his intentions. But 
while in Rome he had received the false news of 
this princess's death,^ and now he gladly accepted 
the proposition of a marriage with another princess 
of the same House — Charlotte Amelie of Hesse 
Rheinfels. This time he' kept his plans secret. 
On his return from Hungary he asked and obtained 
permission to visit the armies of the Emperor on the 

^ The story of Rakoczi's betrothal to Princess Madleine of Hesse and of 
the intrigue by which it was supposedly broken rests entirely on his tale 
{Autobiography , p. 43). I have endeavoured to obtain some corroboration 
or elucidation of it by the study of all available contemporary sources, but in 
vain. Diligent search has been made in the Imperial archives in Vienna 
amongst all the papers relating to the relations with the Houses of Hesse 
Darmstadt and Hesse Rheinfels, amongst the file "Romana," and also in the 
circumstantial and often loquacious despatches of the Venetian envoys, but 
no trace of the engagement in question has been found. Rakoczi accuses 
the Empress Eleonora of having concocted the intrigue by which he was 
informed of the death of the Princess and she of his. But he gives no proof, 
and his accusation is in contradiction of what otherwise we know of the 
character of the Empress. The most extraordinary part, however, of his story 
is that he should have continued to think Princess Madleine dead until, after 
his wedding, he received letters in Frankfort (October 1694). Now Madleine 
and Rakoczi's wife were half-sisters — their mother, Countess Alexandra of 
Leiningen Westerburg, having been first married to George of Hesse Darmstadt 
(1667), and after his death {1676) to Charles of Hesse Rheinfels. By her first 
husband she had two daughters, one of them being Madleine (born 1671) ; 
by her second, six, the eldest being Charlotte (born 1679). Rakoczi arrived 
in Cologne in the middle of September 1694, and spent several days with his 
future parents-in-law before Princess Charlotte arrived from Thorn. It .seems 
not only incredible but simply impossible that the matter of his former engage- 
ment to Princess Alexandra's daughter Madleine and her death should not 
once have been broached during this time. As Rakoczi's veracity cannot be 
doubted, it is clear that his memory must have been at fault when he wrote 
his memoirs. 



Rhine and of King William in the Netherlands, and 
then repaired with Aspremont to Cologne, where he 
met the parents of his betrothed and where the 
wedding took place/ For having thus acted without 
the consent and even the knowledge of the Emperor 
he was on his return confined to his house in Vienna, 
but as the decree declaring him to be of age had been 
issued six months before, no further proceedings 
were taken. 

The best-laid plans do not ensure success. Of 
the considerations which swayed Aspremont in his 
advising and Rakoczi in his acting, none was 
realized. His marriage did not lessen the distrust 
against Rakoczi in Vienna or prevent him from 
staking his fortune and his life on political enter- 
prise. Nor did his connection with a German 
princely house prove of any help in the hour of his 
need. In fact, his union with Charlotte formed only 
a passing episode in his life. Six years and a half 
they lived together decorously and unitedly although 
— in the beginning at least — not happily, for she 
tormented him with fits of groundless jealousy.^ 
When they had got accustomed to and fond of each 
other his destiny overtook him and separated them. 
He was then twenty-five and she twenty-two years 
old. When they met again after five eventful years 
their feelings had drifted apart, and neither of them 

1 September 25, 1694. 

2 Autobiography^ pp. 44 and 457. Compare also, for their marital relations, 
pp. 62, 121, and 187 ; and Stepney's letters to Bruyninx of November 24, 
1706, Bruyninx's letter to Rakoczi, February 7, 1707, and Stepney's to 
Addison, March 8, 1707, Simonyi, vol. iii. pp. 265, 31 1-3 12, and 315. 


had any desire to make their union permanent. He 
was then in the zenith of his career, she a hostage 
in the hands of the Emperor ; but the obstacle to 
their reunion did not come from the latter. She 
certainly had no such wish when a year later she 
fled from Prague and disregarded the orders of 
the Emperor to rejoin her husband.^ Still less had 
he when, after the downfall of his cause, they met in 
his exile in Poland, and their remaining together 
depended on their own will alone. 

Altogether woman and her influence played but 
a subordinate part in Rakoczi's life. His Auto- 
biography is full of self-incrimination and repentance 
for having yielded to the sinful admiration of her 
charms ; but all the love affairs of which he speaks 
— with the exception of one — amounted to nothing 
or very little, and neither the affection for his wife 
and children, nor the tender ties which linked him 
afterwards to the Polish princess Helena Sieniawska, 
exercised any influence on his political decisions 
and his line of action. 

Nor were Aspremont's hopes for the perpetuation 
of his line destined to fulfilment. Three sons were 
born of his marriage with Princess Charlotte, of 
whom two survived him. But they died without male 
issue, and with them their House became extinct. 

Shortly after their marriage the young couple 

1 See Stepney as above, Simonyi, vol. iii. p. 315 ; also the report of the 
Venetian envoy in Dispacci di Germania^ vol. 190, of October 16, 1706, 
where it is told that guards were placed before Princess Rakoczi's house at 
Carlsbad, and that she was informed that she would have to rejoin her 
husband in Hungary without delay, or remain under arrest. 


went to live on their Hungarian estates. The 
years they spent there were those in which what is 
commonly called the Kollonics regime was in full 
force. Nowhere was it resented more bitterly than 
in those north-eastern counties where Rakoczi's 
possessions lay, and which in Austria had always 
been regarded as the hotbed of rebellion. It was 
inevitable under these conditions that he should 
awake to the call of his blood ; the question was 
whether, how, and when he would obey it. 

Whether the four years of Jesuit education had 
actually obliterated the recollection of his childhood, 
or whether they had merely impressed him with the 
sense of the Emperor's power and the consequent 
necessity of dissembling, it is certain that for many 
years he exerted himself most anxiously to avoid 
or to allay the suspicions of the ruling powers 
in Austria. He had almost forgotten his native 
language ; he dressed in Austrian fashion (which 
was the same as the Spanish), his household was 
composed of Germans and other foreigners, and he 
is even reported ^ to have said that if he knew which 
one of his ribs drew him towards Hungary he would 
tear it out. Many years later, when his career had 
been run, this conduct earned him the reproach of 
hypocrisy from Prince Eugen of Savoy.^ It is more 
likely his distrust was sincere, and that the thought 
of Hungarian championship was not in his mind 

^ See contemporary Chronicle of Cserey, p. 314. 

2 See his letter to the Saxon Minister in Arneth's Life of Prince Eugen^ 
vol. viii. p. 469. 




then. But his endeavours were in vain ; the 
Emperor treated him kindly, and gave him tokens of 
his good-will,^ as at the time of his being declared 
of age, so at the birth of his sons, to whom Leopold 
I. and King Josef stood as godfathers. But to the 
Emperor's Government Rakoczi was and remained 
the born pretender, to be watched, held down, and, 
if the opportunity offered, suppressed. When he 
was in Hungary he saw himself surrounded by 
spies ; when, after his marriage, he took steps to 
obtain the recognition of the princely rank and title 
which had descended to him from his great-grand- 
father, artificial difficulties were made and onerous 
conditions raised; ^ and when, at the outbreak of the 
revolt in 1697, to Vienna because the leaders 

wanted to put him at their head, the fact that the 
rebels did not devastate his estates was exploited 
against him as proof of his secret connivance, and 
he was in danger of being arrested.^ It was then 

1 Autobiography^ p. 105, also pp. 62 and 64. 

2 The rank and title of a Prince of the Holy Roman Empire had been 
granted to George Rakoczi I. in the Treaty of Linz, 1645, by Ferdinand HI. 
All his descendants had borne it, and they had been recognized as such by 
the court of Vienna, although Francis I. had never reigned in Transylvania. 
But when Francis II. was put to school at Neuhaus, the Jesuits there 
received orders from Kollonics to address him as Count. In Vienna he had 
been received at court with the etiquette due to a prince, but the formal 
recognition of his rank was avoided. In the decree declaring him to be of 
age he was called Francis Rakoczi, son of Prince Francis of Transylvania. 
When he applied for the recognition of his title the Board of War wanted him 
to raise a regiment for the Emperor at his cost. In 1697 the patent of 
recognition was at last granted, but only for himself and not for his issue, and 
a few years later Prince Eugen declared that all these tergiversations had been 
a blunder. The whole question is treated at length in Thaly, RakoczVs 
Youth, pp. 270-300. 

3 Autobiography, p. 64 ; see also the instructions of the Board of War in 
Feldziige des Prinzen Eugen^ vol. ii. pp. 97-99. 



that he conceived the idea of leaving Hungary 
altogether as the only escape from an intolerable 
situation. Through Count Kinsky/ as well as 
through Cardinal Kollonics, he asked for an ex- 
change of his estates in Hungary for some of similar 
value in Austria or Germany. He received a cutting 
answer from the first, a kind one from the second,^ 
but his offer came to naught, and he returned to 
live in Hungary. It was in the years which next 
ensued that the influence of the man whose fate 
and action were henceforth indissolubly linked to 
his first entered his life, and that their acquaintance 
ripened to intimate friendship. This man was 
Count Nicholas Bercsenyi. 

In grasp of mind, power and will, and talent 
for organization Bercsenyi ^ towers far above all 
his contemporary countrymen, and it is one of the 
saddest aspects of the system in force in those days 
that it drove a man like him into relentless opposi- 

1 Count Franz Ulrich Kinsley was High Chancellor of Bohemia {Oberst 
Kanzler), and after Strattman's death one of the most influential of Emperor 
Leopold's Ministers. He died 1699. 

2 Autobiography, p. 61. Kinsky told him that instead of making such 
propositions he would do better to throw himself on the Emperor's mercy, as 
there was ample evidence to prove his guilt and his estates could be con- 
fiscated anyhow. It is a curious coincidence that a similar proposition had 
been made by Rakoczi's grandfather, Peter Zrinyi. See footnote, p. 48. 

3 In Hungarian folklore, as well as in history, the name of Bercsenyi is 
indissolubly linked with that of Rakoczi. In the eyes of his contemporaries 
— Hungarian, Austrian, and foreign — he was for a long time the real author 
and intellectual head of the great Hungarian national uprising. In the 
period of long national lethargy which followed, his figure had fallen into 
comparative oblivion. It was restored to its significance and true proportion 
by the modern Hungarian historian, Coloman Thaly — in numerous essays, and 
chiefly in his great work, A Bercsenyi Csalad, 3 vols. The great work on 
Prince Eugen of Savoy's campaigns, edited by the Imperial and Royal War 
Department, also bears testimony to the commanding part he played. 


tion instead of making use of him in the Emperor's 
councils. He came of an old and distinguished 
family, the traditions of which, as well as his own 
early associations, would have assigned his place 
rather in the dynastic than in the kurucz camp. 
His grandfather had been made a baron, and had 
fallen fighting the Emperor's battles against the 
Swedes ; his father had served the Emperor 
against the Turks, and had been made a count. 
He himself had at an early age taken part in his 
father's campaigns, distinguished himself on the 
battlefield, lived for a time in the Palatine Ester- 
hazy's court, and at the age of twenty-one obtained 
the command of the frontier post of Szeged. Then 
he married the heiress of the Drugeths of Homonna, 
succeeded that family in the lord-lieutenantcy of 
the county of Ung, and by birth, wealth, and talent 
seemed destined to rise to the highest offices in his 
country's Government. But to keep on terms with 
the powers that were required a more pliant back 
than he possessed. The offices which he held 
necessarily brought him into contact with the 
Austrian military commanders, and for a Hungarian 
with his love of country and pride of race such 
contact meant conflict. Less than anybody else 
could he — himself sarcastic, proud, and overbearing 
— brook the exactions to which he saw his people 
exposed and the slights he had himself to sufier. 
His experiences in this line began in Szeged, con- 
tinued in Ung, and reached their climax when, after 


the convention in Vienna (1696)^ he accepted the 
newly created office of supreme commissary for the 
north-eastern counties for the settlement of all 
controversies between the civil and military authori- 
ties.^ At the conferences in Vienna, in both of 
which he took part, he could learn the aims of the 
ruling statesmen, and in the years which followed 
see them put into effect. Passionately resenting 
his country's wrongs, firmly convinced that the 
only remedy for them lay in the sword, clearly 
understanding that it could not be drawn without 
foreign help, he became the very embodiment ot 
Hungary's Germani nominis aversio in the seven- 
teenth century,^ and as such stands forth in her 

The close vicinity of their estates gave Rakoczi 
and Bercsenyi ample opportunity to develop their 
friendship, and to discover that their views, feelings, 
and aspirations with regard to their country were 
the same. Bercsenyi was by ten years the senior of 
the two, and had a rich experience of practical life 
behind him. It was through him that Rakoczi 
became convinced that the country was ready to 
rise if a leader and opportunity offered ; it was 
through him too that a small nucleus of trusted 
friends learned that the man who was born for the 

^ See above, p. 74. 

2 For the details of these experiences compare Thaly's History of the 
Bercsetiyi Family^ vol. ii. pp. 21-26, 74-75, 79-81, 133, 169-172; also, on 
the personal slights he had to suffer from General Corbelli, the essay in 
Tanulmanyok a Rakoczi Korbol^ pp. 9-10. 

2 " Germanici nominis osor implacabilis," Wagner calls him, ii. 737. 


part stood ready to perform it. As for the oppor- 
tunity, it was preparing fully two thousand miles 
away. In Madrid, Charles II., the last king of the 
Spanish line of the Habsburgs, lay hopelessly ill, 
and the conviction was general that his death would 
light the flames of a European war. It was under 
these circumstances that the two friends decided to 
step from brooding and discussing into the field of 
action, and that Rakoczi wrote the letter to Lewis 
XIV. which he confided to a Belgian officer in the 
Imperial army who had been received and enter- 
tained in his house as a trusted guest. 

The story of Longueval's betrayal, Rakoczi's 
arrest, Bercsenyi's escape, the former's imprison- 
ment, trial, and subsequent dramatic flight, is told 
in every book on Hungarian history. Less widely 
known is the fact that neither the text of his letter 
to the French king ^ nor any record of the trial has 
as yet been discovered,^ and that all our knowledge 

1 Whether Wagner, Leopold I.'s historian, had seen the original of Rakoczi's 
letter is uncertain. Both Szalay {History of Hungary, vol. vi. p. 52) and Thaly 
{Bercsenyi, vol. ii. p. 298) think so, but the former's surmise that it might 
be found in the archives of the Foreign Office in Paris and be identical with 
the paper mentioned in Fiedler's Osterr. Geschichtsquellen, vol. xvii. p. 551, 
has not been confirmed. Albert Lefaivre, in his Les Magyars sous la 
domination ottomane, states that he could not find the letter in the archives 
in Paris, and his quotation is merely a reproduction of the considerations 
contained in the sentence against Rakoczi. 

2 Hitherto all researches for the record of the trial have proved fruitless. 
Szalay (vol. vi. p. 56) supposes them to be buried in some unknown archive. 
Thaly {ibid. p. 293) tells of Arneth's — director of the Imperial and Royal 
Archives, and himself a distinguished historian — researches and their negative 
result. At the request of the present author new researches have been made 
in the Haus- Hof- und Staats-Archiv as well as in the War Department in 
Vienna, but in neither has any trace of the missing records or anything 
relating to the trial been found. As in the days of Leopold I. most affairs 
were treated in special commissions, and the presidents of these were in the 
habit of taking the state papers with them and depositing them in their 


about the case rests on his own tale and the sen- 
tence of death pronounced against him in default 
eighteen months after his arrival in Poland. 

In Wiener Neustadt Rakoczi was imprisoned in 
the same cell which his grandfather — Peter Zrinyi — 
had occupied during his trial. Thanks to his wife's 
resourceful energy, a German officer's good-will and 
adventurous spirit, and mainly to extraordinarily 
good luck, the question whether his fate was to be 
the same was taken out of the hands of his judges. 
His case was indeed a grave one. His main plea 
that the court before which he was brought had no 
jurisdiction over him was undoubtedly well founded 
in Hungarian law, but had small chance of being 
listened to. The only witness against him was the 
man who had so foully betrayed his hospitality, and 
who now added to the villainy of his denunciation 
by inventing stories about a formed conspiracy and 

family archives, Chancellor Buccellini, who had charge of Rakoczi's trial, may 
have done the same. In that case there is a possibility of the papers being 
in the castle of Cronberg, the archives of which have not been explored. 

The correspondence of Buccellini with his friend Count Ernest Frederic 
Windischgr'atz, who at the time of Rakoczi's trial represented the Imperial 
court at the diet of Regensburg, is in the castle of Tachau, belonging to the 
elder line of the princely House of Windischgratz. Through the kindness 
of the present owner the author has obtained copies of the full correspond- 
ence. But although there are forty-nine letters written in 1 701, only five of 
them contain brief notices with regard to Rakoczi's trial. On April 23 
and 27 Buccellini informs his friend of Rakoczi's arrest ; on May 5 that 
Rakoczi was on the way of being brought to Vienna, that there were 
abundant and sufficient reasons for the arrest, and that time would disclose 
all ; on June 8 that he had spent several hours in Vienna studying the case ; 
and on June 22 that he had just returned from Wiener Neustadt, where he 
had spent three days examining the prisoners. It speaks greatly in favour of 
Buccellini's discretion and judicial attitude that even in his intimate corre- 
spondence he should have refrained from giving any opinion on the case 
which he was about to try. It was only after Rakoczi's flight that he called 
him a villain (letters of November 9 and 16). 



secret meetings. That conspiracy had so far only 
existed in the realm of wishes, and these meetings 
had never taken place/ But if Longueval's tales 
were inventions, Rakoczi's letter to the French 
king was a fact. In his History'^ he glides around 
the main fact, in his Autobiography he not only 
frankly avows it but also his motives. Between 
his tale and the considerations in the sentence 
there is no essential difference.^ 

1 The best proof of this is that after Rakoczi's flight all proceedings were 
dropped against the men who had been arrested with him, the three Vays, 
Szirmay, Okolicsanyi, Sandor, and others. Longueval's tale about a secret 
meeting between them at a given place and date broke down on his con- 
frontation and the prisoner's offer to prove an alibi. 

2 The Histoire des Revolutions en Hongrie was written by Rakoczi, partly 
in Latin and partly in French, for publication after his death, and appeared at 
The Hague I739. It is an appeal to the world for the Hungarian cause. See 
" Lettres de Turquie of Cesar de Saussure, 1 730-1 739," lately discovered at 
Geneva, and edited by Thaly 1909, The Autobiography was written for him- 
self, deposited in the Camalduline monastery at Groisbois, and is in the nature 
of a confession. It was only discovered in 1858 and published in 1876. The 
way in which he tells the events immediately preceding his arrest in the two 
books forms an interesting illustration of their difference. In the History he 
says that when he received his sister's letter informing him that Longueval 
had been arrested and letters of Hungarian magnates found on him, he could 
easily have fled to Poland, but that the consciousness of his innocence retained 
him. In the Autobiography he tells that he received his sister's letter while 
playing cards after supper with German officers ; that he thought at once of 
fleeing, but that the want of ready money prevented him from doing it on 
the spot, and during the ensuing night he was arrested. 

3 The sentence says that Rakoczi had written to the King of France praising 
the favours which his family had formerly received from the French crown, ex- 
pressing his own and his country's confidence in the said King as in a father and 
protector, and adding that the present circumstances were very favourable, the 
principal families discontented, and, therefore, there was greater probability of 
attaining their aims if they could count on French help, and that as the Estates 
were ready to advance the King's cause, so he, Rakoczi, by the inclination in- 
herited by his ancestors, would personally co-operate for the advantage of France. 

In the Autobiography, pp. 70-73 and 102-105, Rakoczi tells how he and 
Bercsenyi had become convinced that a remedy for the evils in Hungary 
could not be obtained by peaceful means, but only by shaking off the yoke. 
Then he discusses the state of things which made an uprising impossible, and 
proceeds to tell how during his visit to Vienna he had learned the state of 
the negotiations of the Spanish Succession and the inevitability of war, 
returned with these glad tidings to Hungary, and how in accord with his 
friends he had resolved to appeal to the French King. 


That Rakoczi had the intention to provoke a 
revolution in Hungary there can be no doubt. 
Beyond the appeal to Lewis XIV. he seems to have 
done nothing as yet.^ But he staked his life when 
he wrote his letter, and he lost the game when he 
entrusted it to Longueval. If he escaped from 
paying the penalty he owed it to another officer in 
the Imperial army, a Captain Lehmann, in whose 
custody he happened to be placed. Longueval was 
made a baron and given an estate in Croatia, 
Lehmann was beheaded and quartered. 

Fortune smiled on Rakoczi during his escape. 
The distance from Wiener Neustadt to Podolin, 
where he crossed the Polish frontier, is about 380 
miles. Accompanied by his faithful page, Berze- 
viczy, he travelled in the uniform of a soldier of the 
Castelli regiment, to which his liberator Lehmann 
belonged. His way led him first through villages 
where real officers and soldiers of that regiment 
were quartered, and then through a country where 
he had often passed before and everybody knew 
him. He had to contend against the regulations 
which forbade postmasters to furnish horses to 
travellers who had no passports, and against the 
still stricter rules on the frontier. Still he arrived 
at Podolin on Friday, November 11, about noon, 

1 Preparations to form a conspiracy had certainly been made. On 
December i, 1701, du Heron wrote to Lewis XIV. : "Your Majesty would 
certainly form a good opinion of Rakoczi's ability if you knew all he has 
done for the constitution of a strong party without exciting suspicion." 
Du Heron wrote on the strength of what Rakoczi and Bercsenyi told him, 
and they had then an evident interest to extol their efforts. 


after having left his prison on the evening of 
the Monday before. Three days later he was in 
Cracow, where he changed his dress and hired a 
coach and four for his journey to Warsaw. There 
he and Bercsenyi fell into each other's arms. On 
or about the same day a price of 6000 florins had 
been set on his head, and of 10,000 on his being 
delivered alive into the hands of the Imperial 

Still more fortunate than his friend, Bercsenyi 
had escaped from imprisonment altogether. He 
was on the way to Vienna with his wife when he 
met Szirmay's secretary, who told him of his 
master's and Rakoczi's arrest and his own danger. 
Forthwith he returned to his castle of Brunocz, 
took what valuables and necessaries he could lay 
hands on, and then fled to Poland. There he 
sought not only a refuge, but also the way for 
starting the revolution in Hungary. During six 
months he had worked with zeal and ability for this 
purpose, applying for aid to the Kings of France 
and Poland, explaining to them — in carefully pre- 
pared State papers — the state of his country, where 
everything was ripe for an outbreak, and the advan- 
tages they would derive from it, and holding out to 
Augustus the flattering prospect of a grateful nation 
bestowing its crown on a liberator, and thus bringing 
the glorious period of the Anjou kings into life 
again. But as yet he had come no nearer to his aim. 

1 The Imperial edict was issued November 24, 1701. 


Meanwhile his enemies, too, had been on the alert, 
and a few days before Rakoczi's arrival he had had 
the narrowest escape from a trap they had set for 
his capture. 

Poland in those days was a hotbed of political 
intrigues — domestic and foreign. For a century 
and a half the courts of Vienna and Paris had been 
striving for supremacy of influence in Warsaw, and 
at each recurrent Royal election endeavouring to 
place their candidate on the throne. Never had 
their rivalry been keener than after the death of 
John Sobieski.^ The contest between the two 
factions — Austrian and French — had lasted a year, 
and resulted in the election of Augustus of Saxony,^ 
who at the outbreak of the Spanish War found 
himself courted by both sides.^ He was then in 
the throes of his war with Charles XII., and his 
alliance with Peter the Great, both of which were 
to cost him and his country so dear. The King of 
Sweden had already won the battle of Narva, but 

1 1696. 

2 For the state of Poland in those days, the struggle for Sobieski's succes- 
sion, Augustus's election, and Austrian and French policy with regard to him, 
compare a manuscript of Abb^ F. D. S., who had travelled there in 1688, in 
the Bibliotheque Mazarin, Paris ; Hauteville, Relation historique de la 
Pologne, 1687 ; an essay of Carl Helbig, " Polnische Wirtschaft und franzo- 
sische Diplomatic, 1692-1697," in Sybel's Historische Zeitschrift, 1859; 
and Alfred Rambeaux, Receuil des instructions donnies aux ambassadeurs et 
ministres de France^ Paris, 1890, vol. Pologne. 

2 After the failure of Prince Conti's candidature, and the election of 
Augustus, coolness had arisen between France and Poland. Lewis had' 
recalled the Abbe de Polignac, and during three years there had been no 
French Ambassador or Minister at Warsaw. But at the approach of the 
Spanish crisis he sent the Marquis du Heron on a special mission to Augustus 
(May 1700) for the purpose of first mediating peace with Sweden, and then 
bringing Augustus into line with the Emperor's other enemies. 


neither his power nor his temper was as yet fully- 
realized in Paris and Vienna, and both Powers were 
bidding for Augustus's alliance. 

The outlook, therefore, was promising for Berc- 
senyi, and at first it seemed as if his efforts might 
meet with success. In the French Minister, the 
Marquis du Heron, he found a warm advocate who 
was soon to become a personal friend. Augustus 
received him in secret audience, listened com- 
placently to the exposition of his ideas, and be- 
stowed an estate in Lithuania upon him, which, in 
the fallen state of his fortunes, was most welcome. 
But there the upward current stopped. Lewis 
XIV., either because he did not believe in the 
chances of a Hungarian uprising in general, and 
Bercsenyi's capability of leading it in particular, or 
because he wished first clearly to settle his relations 
with Augustus, refused to entertain the representa- 
tions of his envoy. He remarked that it was the 
King of Poland who had the most to gain by the dis- 
position of the Hungarians, therefore it was in him 
to aid them, and he ordered du Hdron to abstain 
from all further participation in the matter.^ 
Augustus meanwhile had seen Charles XII. 's 
further advance in Livonia, and disbelieving that 
France could or would arrest him, had decided for 
the Imperial alliance. He still refused Count 

1 Du Heron's despatches are in the archives of the Foreign Office in Paris, 
Hongrie^ vol. ix. They are highly interesting, particularly those of August 4, 
II, and November 16, with which he forwarded Bercsenyi's Promemorias to 
his sovereign. Lewis XIV. repeated his refusal of July 28 on August 4 
and September i, 1701. 


Strattmann's ^ demand for Bercsenyi's extradition, 
but it was with his Prime Minister's co-operation 
that the plot for his forcible abduction was devised 
and carried out. It was Beuchling who proposed 
to Bercsenyi secretly to meet at a distant place a 
non-existent emissary of Tokoli ; it was in his 
carriage that Bercsenyi started on the journey ; and 
it was in the disguise of a confidential commissioner 
of the Polish court that the Imperial captain who 
directed the whole enterprise was placed therein 
with him. That Bercsenyi — who was accompanied 
by only two Hungarians and one Pole, upon whom 
he could rely — escaped from the attack of fifteen 
Imperial dragoons^ was due partly to his presence 
of mind and courage, and partly to the good luck 
which amidst all their misadventures favoured him 
and Rakoczi at the time.^ 

On his journey Rakoczi met the troop of riders 
returning from Petrykow, and in Warsaw he learned 
what their errand had been. Safety there was 
none for him and Bercsenyi in Poland, but it 
was the only place from which they could hope 
to accomplish the purpose which was uppermost 

1 The Imperial Minister, son of the former Chancellor. 

2 See du Heron's Report, November 20, 1701. 

3 The attempt of Petrykow and its details were hitherto only known by 
Rakoczi's narration in the Histoire and the Autobiography. The present 
author has found in the Imperial archives in Vienna the original Report of 
Captain Leonhard Schiller, who had directed the whole undertaking, travelled 
in the carriage with Bercsenyi, and whose identity had remained unknown to 
his intended victim, his friends, and consequently to subsequent historians. 
In the main his tale tallies with what Bercsenyi told and Rakoczi wrote from 


in their minds. In January 1702 Augustus had 
openly declared for the Emperor, and by a secret 
clause to his treaty of alliance had bound himself 
to do all that was in his power for the extradition 
of the Hungarian rebels.^ Fortunately for them 
this power was very small,^ for the great Polish 
nobles of the French party took delight in showing 
them not only hospitality and personal friendship 
but in aiding them to carry out their plans. Fore- 
most amongst them were the Palatine of Belz, Adam 
Sieniawski, and his spirited and courageous wife, 
Princess Helena Elizabeth Lubomirska. She be- 
longed to the type of ladies of whom the Duchess 
de Longueval of the French Fronde" is the most 
prominent representative, had always taken an active 
part in her country's politics, worked with energy 
for Prince Conti's election, and had shown her 
sympathy for the Hungarian cause by offering to 
Bercsenyi the hospitality of all her castles. She 
was away when Rakoczi arrived, but immediately 
after her return du H^ron brought them together. 
In the friendship which was then formed her husband 
took a generous share; it was never broken, and was 
of signal value to Rakoczi. It was on the Sieniawski 

1 Du Heron's Reports in the Paris and those of Strattmann in the Vienna 
archives. On February 4, 1702, the latter wrote to the Emperor: "There 
is a new attempt preparing against Bercsenyi, and I hope it will be more 
fortunate than the last one." 

2 In Vienna they were perfectly aware of it. On the back of the secret 
clause, as conserved in the archives in Vienna, " Saxonia 1702, fasc. 14 a," 
there is an annotation saying that little weight is to be put on the secret 
article, because although the King might promise much he will not be able to 
fulfil it. 


estates of Moscsenicza and Brzezan that he and 
Bercsenyi spent the next eighteen months hiding 
in the disguise of civil engineers.^ 

^ For the relations of Rakoczi to Sieniawski and his wife, Autobiography, 
pp. 138 and 139. His letters to them are in the archives of the Princess 
Czartoryski. I have had no opportunity of seeing them, and do not know 
whether they have ever been examined. 


The return and beginning of the Hungarian revolution — Early 
adhesions ; Ocskay, Karolyi — Rapid growth — Events from 
June to December 1703. 

From the outset Rakoczi had based his plans on 
the assistance of France, and it was to her that 
he continued to look for support to the end of his 
career. His hopes were doomed to prove illusive, 
but it must be owned that the responsibility for 
cherishing them belongs to him more than to the 
French king. Now as ever Lewis XIV. stood 
ready to profit by a diversion in the Emperor's rear, 
and to drive the Hungarians forward on a path 
which they had voluntarily entered,"^ but now as 
before he wished to leave the entering to their 
own volition, and now as afterwards he declined 
all binding engagements as to the outcome. Proofs 
of personal good-will he gave to the two exiles, 
granting an allowance of 12,000 francs a year to 
Rakoczi, and of 8000 to Bercsenyi, but he took care 
to state that he had not caused their misfortuaes.^ 

1 See above, p. 45. 

2 Reponse du Roi, January 26, 1702, on the margin of du Heron Reports 
of December 22, 1701. 



But regarding their other requests — the money, 
arms, and officers they asked for, the troops they 
were to levy, and the assurance that they would 
be included in the future treaty of peace — he con- 
tinued to hesitate and to delay. 

In reality the king had but a slight opinion at 
the time of the possibilities and chances of a 
Hungarian uprising. He was well aware of the 
spell of Rakoczi's name, but the Emperor's arms 
had been so triumphant in the late war, the country 
since had seemed so crushed and subdued, that all 
propositions for a new enterprise in this direction 
appeared but shadowy. A far more promising oppor- 
tunity for causing trouble to the Emperor seemed 
to offer in Poland. Du Heron, who had never had 
full faith in the success of his mission to Augustus, 
had several times suggested to Versailles to con- 
spire with the Conti faction for his dethronement. 
Lewis had hitherto disapproved these proposals, 
but after Augustus had sided with the Emperor 
he authorized his Minister to proceed with a 
plan to which the Swedish advance gave further 
likelihood of success. Reviewing the list of avail- 
able candidates for the throne to become vacant — 
Conti, the Palatines of Cracow and Belz, Radziwill, 
and one of Sobieski's sons — Lewis added that 
Rakoczi would be far the best and most desirable 
of them all.^ Heron, however, was neither discreet 
nor fortunate in his efforts, and Augustus resolved 

1 Receuil des Instructions, vol. Pologne. 


to get rid of him. Returning from a supper on the 
night of November ii, 1702, the French Minister 
was arrested by a detachment of dragoons, taken to 
Thorn, and afterwards sent back to France. His 
removal was a severe loss to the two Hungarian 
exiles. After the affront Lewis sent no other 
representative to Augustus,^ and Rakoczi had to 
carry on his negotiations through the Marquis de 
Bonnac, who, as Lewis's Minister to Charles XH., 
resided then in Danzig, and was as sceptical with 
regard to the Hungarian plans as his masters in 

Meanwhile all news from home confirmed 
the growth and spread of the bitter discontent 
engendered by the Kollonics regime. The half- 
hearted concessions of 1699 and 1700 had but 
shifted the burden of the hateful new contributions 
from the gentry to the already overtaxed and down- 
trodden peasantry. New grievances had been 
added to the old ones by the levying of fresh 
troops to be sent to Italy, and the imposition of 
a new tax on salt. The peasants had the most 
to suffer and the least to lose, therefore they were 
the first to rise. Many of them left their villages 
and farms and took to the woods and mountains, 
where they formed bands of robbers. Amongst 
these were some of Rakoczi's own tenants, who 

1 Augustus wrote to Lewis XIV. to justify his proceedings, but the event 
of the Swedish War made his assurances of small importance. Diplomatic 
relations between him and France were only re-established after Charles XII. 's 
downfall at Pultawa, 171 1, when Lewis sent Hooke, afterwards Benzenval, to 


early in 1703 sent one of their number — a man 
called Bige — together with a Ruthenian priest, to 
Poland to find out whether their lord and prince 
was still alive. They found him at Brezan, and 
representing their misery to him, informed him 
that the one Imperial regiment, Montecucoli, which 
had been left behind had just received marching 
orders for Italy, and implored him to come back 
and put himself at their head. 

It seemed a poor invitation for the two great 
lords, but necessity makes strange bed-fellows. So 
Count Bercsenyi's equerry was sent to Hungary 
to ascertain the state of things in Rakoczi's domains 
and in the counties beyond the Tibiscus. On his 
return he confirmed all that Bige had said, and 
assured the Prince that he had only to send his 
orders and standards to set thousands in motion. 
Rakoczi sent them with promises of further succour, 
but enjoined the people not to begin the movement 
until they had heard further from him, and not to 
commit any depredations against- their landlords, 
but to try somehow to obtain possession of some 
fortified place badly guarded by its garrison. At 
the same time he went with Bercsenyi to Potocki, 
the Palatine of Kiow, and Prince Wisniowecki, and 
obtained their assistance for the levying of some 
troops, giving them a mortgage on his estates in 
Hungary.^ Then he sent Bercsenyi to Danzig to 

1 Only a short time before, Prince Adam Liechtenstein had received from 
the Imperial Treasury a mortgage on these same confiscated estates for a loan 
of 200,000 florins he had given. 


confer with Bonnac, and pending his return, retired 
to Mme Sieniawska at Holesicz, near the Hungarian 

As was to be foreseen, Rakoczi's orders were 
badly obeyed. The peasants, now turned loose, 
who bore their landlords as many grudges as they 
did against the foreign soldiers and tax-collectors, 
when they received his standards, did not wait for 
further orders, but began their struggle for freedom 
by marching on the estates of the landowners, 
burning and robbing there, as well as in churches 
and on farms. It was a regular peasants' uprising, 
with all its excesses and depredations. There were 
no regular troops in the country, but Marquis 
Nigrelli, who was Commander-in-Chief in Kassa, 
called the militia of the counties to arms, and they 
obeyed the summons. 

Rakoczi was in Drosdowicze on a visit to his 
friend Konski when these things occurred. There 
he received a deputation from the insurgents, with 
one Majos at their head, urging him once more to 
come home and take the lead. They represented 
to him that the people had risen on the sight of 
his banners, that they were devoted to his name, 
and their number increased every day. But with- 
out a leader their undertaking would come to 
nothing, and if he failed them in this moment 
he would for ever stand reproached for having 
abandoned them. 

Nothing was prepared. Instead of money 


Rakoczi had so far only received promises from 
Bonnac. The Polish levies were not ready. 
Bercsenyi was absent. Crossing the frontier might 
mean capture, and falling into the hands of the 
Austrians meant certain death on the scaffold. But 
the fire now alighted, once extinguished, might 
never be rekindled. So a decision had to be taken 
at once. Rakoczi was twenty -seven years old, 
full of courage and belief in his cause. He de- 
cided for action, and accompanied only by a few 
soldiers of Palatine Konski's guards, started for 
Hungary. Arriving on the frontier, he learned 
that Baron Karolyi had utterly routed the insurgents 
at Dolha. Everything seemed to be over, still he 
decided to go on. He despatched a courier to 
Wisniowecki and Potocki to hasten the arrival of 
the promised troops, and sending word to the 
dispersed insurgents to join him, set foot again on 
his native soil on June i6, near the mountain of 
Beskad, which divides the two countries. There 
he was joined by a rabble of about 200 marauders 
on foot and 50 on horseback, armed with sticks and 
scythes, half-naked, under the leadership of the 
former soldiers in the Imperial army — Horvath and 
Moricz — a peasant called Esze, and Kiss, a bandit 
of the high-roads. 

Such was the poor beginning of the great 
Hungarian uprising which lasted from 1703 to 1711. 
A few regiments of trained troops, with a resolute 
commander at their head, could have nipped it in 


the bud. But Austria was engaged to the utmost 
limit of her strength in the great war in the West. 
Of Imperial troops there were but three and a half 
regiments of infantry and three of cavalry in all 
Hungary.^ They were dispersed over the whole 
country, and in the immediate neighbourhood of 
the region of the Tibiscus, where the movement 
began, and which was the next exposed to Rakoczi's 
inroad, there was but the one regiment of Monte- 
cucoli cuirassiers. 

The garrisons in the fortified places, of which 
there were between twenty and thirty in the king- 
dom, amounted to about 9500 men, numbering 
from 300 to 1400 in each place. They were, 
however, not available for the open campaign. 
There was, of course, the local militia, consisting 
of the levies the counties were obliged to furnish, 
but, as events proved, they were not to be depended 
upon. It was one thing to keep a rabble of revolted 
peasants in order when they were led by men like 
Esze, Pap, and Kiss ; it was altogether different 
when their leader was a great prince bearing the 
proudest of Magyar names. 

The crowd around Rakoczi grew quickly in 
number, and within a few days after his arrival 
there were about 3000 men on foot and 300 on 
horseback in his camp. As yet they were of the 
same calibre as those whom Karolyi had routed 

1 They were not complete, numbering only about 6000 men altogether, 
Feldzuge des Prinzen Eugen^ vol. v. p. no. 


at Dolha, but as there was no enemy in sight, 

and as they could not subsist in the mountains, 

he moved on. Descending into the plains of 

Munkacs he encamped in the town opposite his 

ancestral castle which his mother had defended 

against Caraffa nineteen years ago. Its garrison 

consisted of about 300 men, many of whom had 

married native girls and sympathized with the 

people around them. Others had grown old. 

From all the information he had received Rakoczi 

could reasonably hope that the fort would surrender 

without a fight, but he was surprised by the arrival 

of two squadrons of Montecucoli cuirassiers whom 

Nigrelli had sent back on hearing of the new 

troubles. After a short tussle the regulars easily 

routed the untrained rabble and sent them back 

into the mountains from which they had come. 

But they did not follow, and a few days later 

even let a new force of about 200 horsemen pass 

undisturbed before them on their way to Zawadka, 

where Rakoczi was rallying his levies. There 

the Prince was also joined by Bercsenyi, who had 

come with four squadrons of Polish' dragoons, tw^o 

companies of Roumanians, some money from Bonnac, 

and promises of more. 

The leader of the small band which arrived 

so opportunely at Zawadka was Ladislaus Ocskay 

of sinister fame. He was about sixteen when 

he had an ear cut off by the common hangman ; 

he was barely twenty- eight when he died a 





traitor's death on the executioner's block. Between 
that beginning and ending lay a life of reckless 
adventure, infamy, and crime, but also of daredevil 
deeds and famous exploits. He came of good 
old stock, and was in the Jesuits' college at Tyrnau 
when he heard that the Emperor's officers were 
enlisting recruits for Count Palffy's hussar regiment. 
He threw his books to the wind, joined the colours 
as a private, and was sent to the lower Danube, 
where his regiment was fighting against the Turks. 
There he committed his first misdeed — what it 
was has not come down to posterity — for which 
he lost his ear. Shortly afterwards he killed a 
fellow -soldier of the name of Tisza, whose sister 
by a strange coincidence he was to marry in after 
years, and to escape punishment deserted to the 
Turks, whose faith he adopted, submitting even 
to being circumcised. After the peace of Karlovicz 
he obtained his pardon and re-entered his old 
regiment, with which, after the outbreak of the 
great war, he went to the Rhine. There he dis- 
tinguished himself by his bravery, but, being a 
drunkard and a rowdy, never rose beyond the 
rank of sergeant. Dissatisfied, he deserted to the 
French, where he was well received and made 
lieutenant in the king's Hungarian squadron, but, 
finding the French discipline still more irksome 
than the Austrian, deserted again to the Imperials. 
He did not remain long, but, obtaining a pass- 
port under false pretences, persuaded seven fellow- 


soldiers to flee with him and to return home. On 
their long journey through Southern Germany and 
Austria they were joined by other marauders and 
deserters who, arriving in Hungary, disbanded, and 
preyed on villages and country houses. Ocskay, 
pushing his audacity so far as to show himself 
in his old college town, was met by the lieutenant- 
colonelofhis own regiment. Baron Pongracz, arrested, 
and put into irons. But luck was still with him. 
Somehow or other he obtained not only his release, 
but even an Imperial patent to collect the deserters 
who had come with him and bring them back to 
their colours. When on this errand he heard of 
Rakoczi's arrival, and turned his horses' heads to 
the East to offer his allegiance to the prince. The 
men he brought with him were, like himself, free- 
booters and adventurers ; some of them had seen 
service under Tokoli, like most of those who came 
under Borbely from the region beyond the Tibiscus, 
which they had made too hot to hold them. But 
there was fighting-stuff in them, and many of them 
rose afterwards to high rank in the Confederate 
army : none so high as Ocskay, neither did any 
other come to such ignominious end. 

Bands were also forming in the country beyond 
the Tibiscus under Andrew Bone and Borbely, 
and their men told Rakoczi that the peasantry 
there were longingly waiting for his arrival. Count 
Stephan Csaky, Bercsenyi's brother-in-law, with 
the levies of the counties of Bereg and Ugocsa 


and 200 German troops, was guarding the passages 
of the river ; but Ocskay routed the small de- 
tachment which Csaky had sent to Tiszabecs, and 
Rakoczi with his army passed the river at Ugrony. 
Thousands flocked now into his camp, where he 
soon had about 8000 men around him. Rumour 
magnified their numbers, and even reported of a 
corps of those formidable Swedes who had been 
doing such wonders in the north. Count Csaky's 
levies dispersed and like himself retired into fortified 
places to watch the tide of events. 

Already when still an exile in Poland Rakoczi 
had issued letters and patents in which he spoke 
like a sovereign prince, giving orders and threatening 
with the consequences of disobedience. Now he 
issued a new manifesto to the county of Szabolcs, 
explaining the reasons for his having taken to arms, 
enjoining clergy and laity, nobles, gentry, and every 
person carrying arms to appear within three days 
in his camp, and either to take service in the 
national cause in person or by deputy, or at least 
to present their allegiance to the same. For any 
injury that befell those who disobeyed they would 
have to thank themselves. 

But as yet the upper classes kept aloof. The 
rabble who devastated their fields and drove away 
their cattle inspired them with small confidence, 
and they did not feel sure that the movement might 
not turn against them as well as against the Ger- 
mans. It was impossible to keep discipline amongst 




such troops as were the early arrivals in Rakoczi's 
camp. He and Bercsenyi did their best, but they 
had no officers, and had to accept as such those 
whom the rank and file chose : butchers, barbers, 
and tailors. But the absence of any resistance gave 
them time, and with time things improved. 

Their first important success was the occupation 
of Debreczen, where they obtained the financial 
means for the better organization of their forces. 
This large town was the metropolis of the whole 
region beyond the Tibiscus, and always a strong- 
hold of Protestantism. During the last war. General 
Caraffa had been able to extort 480,000 florins 
from it, which proves the wealth of its citizens. 
Since then new injuries — the war contribution of 
1697 Cardinal Kollonics' expulsion decree 

against the Protestant preachers — had been added to 
the old ones. To a man the citizens of Debreczen 
hated the German rule, and were devoted to the 
national cause. But they were prudent men, and 
so were their leaders, Stephen Dobozy, Judge of the 
town, and George Komaromy, afterwards Vicecomes 
of Bihar and one of the principal actors in the final 
drama at Szathmar. When they heard of Rakoczi's 
approach they allowed old Monay, who had been 
one of Tokoli's captains and was a kurucz to the 
backbone, to distribute the prince's manifestos and 
to enlist volunteers for him. But at the same time 
they sent a deputation to General Nigrelli in Kassa 
and another to Vienna to explain and excuse their 


proceedings — for what were they to do, having 
neither arms nor walls and all their goods and 
chattels in the fields ? 

Here Rakoczi found what he wanted. Bercsenyi 
made a triumphal entry, and in a few days obtained 
not only a voluntary contribution of 24,000 thalers, 
but also 1000 guns, as many swords, 6000 mantles, 
as many kalpecks, besides boots, saddles, and other 
provisions for his troops. From that moment 
Debreczen became what it remained to the end — a 
mainspring of kurucz power. 

At the same time two small fortified places, 
Huszt and Kallo, fell into Rakoczi's power. In 
both the inhabitants persuaded or forced the 
German garrison to surrender. In the former the 
Commander was killed by his mutinous soldiers, in 
the latter there were only forty soldiers, who with 
their Commander, Lieutenant Eckstein, took service 
in the kurucz army. The surrender of these two 
places gave Rakoczi his first pieces of artillery. 

Still more important was a success obtained by 
Bercsenyi against the Servians who were in arms 
against the kurucz rising. These new settlers^ 
hated the Magyars, and therefore, were devoted to 
the Emperor's cause. All the endeavours and 
proclamations of Rakoczi to win them over by 
promises and threats proved fruitless. They had 
already surprised and severely damaged the auxiliary 
troops which were forming under Bone, and now 

^ See p. 75. 




Bercsenyi retaliated upon them at Olaszi. This 
success set Bone free to join the operations with 
his 7000 men, and forced the German garrison of 
Nagy Varad to remain within their walls. 

Nothing succeeds like success. Every small 
advantage obtained brought to Rakoczi new ad- 
hesions, which were no longer confined to the 
humble classes of his first followers. Already the 
brothers Ilosvay had joined. Now came Baron 
Paul Melith, a large landowner in Szathmar. Since 
the affair at Tiszabecs, Csaky had been quietly 
sitting in the castle of Szathmar. When its Com- 
mander, Count Lowenburg, called upon him to 
reassemble the local militia, he pleaded illness and 
requested Melith to do so in his place. The latter 
consented, placed himself at the head of the gentry, 
and with them rode into Rakoczi's camp to take the 
oath of fealty to the kurucz cause ; so did Paul 
Orosz, who had been colonel in the Imperial army, 
and owned land in three counties ; Janos Papay, 
who had been taken prisoner at Ecsed and after- 
wards became Rakoczi's chief diplomatic agent for 
all affairs with the Porte ; Stephen Buday, who held 
high office in Bihar ; Bercsenyi, Ibranyi, and many 
others. As these and other men of birth and 
breeding came, the democratic character of the 
kurucz army slowly changed. Rakoczi and Bercsenyi 
were only too glad to supply the want of officers from 
their rank, and to make them captains, lieutenant- 
colonels, colonels, and generals. When the kurucz 




army was at the height of its power and success 
Rakoczi had twenty-five generals, eight of whom 
were counts, seven barons, and ten belonged to the 
untitled nobility. Even amongst his brigadiers 
there were only two of plebeian origin, Thomas Esze 
and Orban Czelder. 

In Transylvania there were over 8000 of the 
Emperor's best troops, three half-regiments of 
infantry and three of cavalry, commanded by Count 
John de Rabutin,^ one of Leopold's ablest Generals. 
Had he marched with them on Rakoczi's unformed 
army there is but little doubt that the whole 
movement might yet have been crushed. But he 
was under orders to keep a close watch on the 
southern frontier, whence greater danger was feared 
in Vienna than Hungary was thought capable of 
causing. The Porte was still smarting under the 
humiliation of Carlovicz, the Janissaries were 
thirsting for revenge for Salankemen and Zenta, 
and Lewis XIV.'s ambassador, the Marquis de 
Ferriol, was doing his utmost to incite the Sultan 

1 Jean Louis de Bussy Rabutin (born 1642) became a page at the court of, 
Mme la Princesse, wife of the Grand Conde in 1664, and seven years later 
was implicated in a drama which led to the lifelong imprisonment of Mme 
la Princesse, Rabutin's flight to Austria, and the condemnation to the galleys 
of the third actor, a lacquey called Nicholas Duval, the mystery of which 
has never been cleared up. In 1905 Messrs. Octave Homberg and 
Fernand Jousselin published a book on the life of Claire Clemence de 
Maille Breze, wife of the Grand Conde, but were not able to add any new 
information to the scanty knowledge we possess of what happened in the 
Hotel Conde in Paris during the night of January 13, 1671. Rabutin escaped 
to Austria where he entered the Imperial service and had a brilliant career. 
In 1683 he became Lieutenant-Colonel, in 1696 General and Governor of 
Transylvania, married a princess of Schleswig-Holstein, and attained the rank 
of Field-Marshal. At the outbreak of the Rakoczi revolution he was Governor 
and Commander-in-Chief of Transylvania. 




and his advisers to action. The Imperial resident, 
supported by his colleagues of England and the 
States General, was working in the opposite direc- 
tion, but when in July an insurrection broke out in 
Constantinople which ended in Sultan Mustapha's 
dethronement and the beheading of his peace-loving 
ministers, the danger of war seemed extremely near. 
Nothing came of it but orders for the pashas of 
Temesvar and Belgrad to show friendly disposi- 
tions to Prince Rakoczi, and let his emissaries buy 
whatever they wanted on Turkish territory. But 
the uncertainty of the Porte's ultimate decisions 
paralysed Rabutin s action, and instead of being 
ordered to march with his whole force into Hungary 
he was only allowed to send a detachment of 
700 cuirassiers, and some national levies under 
Baron Glockelsperg,^ to join, if possible, the 
Montecucoli regiment and observe Rakoczi's further 

Glockelsperg had occupied the small fort of 
Somlyo, but when he learned of the approach of 
a kurucz force of about 4000 men he did not 
wish to expose his troops against such odds, and 
retired with them into the fort of Szathmar. 
Somlyo surrendered, and the national levies as 
well as thirty Imperial soldiers who had been left 
there joined the kurucz cause. 

The fall of Somlyo was followed by the sur- 

1 Baron Glockelsperg had risen from the ranks. His original name was 


render of Nagy Karolyi. Far greater than the 
importance of the place was that of its owner, 
Baron, afterwards Count, Alexander Karolyi, one 
of the wealthiest and most influential Hungarian 
magnates. At the early age of twenty he had 
succeeded his father in the possession of his large 
estates and the Lord- Lieutenancy of the county 
of Szathmar. The father had remained loyal to 
the King in Vienna during the long years of the 
Tokoli rebellion, and the son had grown up in 
the same views and feelings. But neither his 
loyalty nor his commanding position had saved 
him from the vexations and oppressions which 
Hungarians — great and small — had then to suffer 
from the Imperial generals. In 1691 General 
Loffelholz had blackened his character to Louis, 
Margrave of Baden. The Margrave was return- 
ing from Transylvania, and Karolyi had ridden out 
from Ecsed to pay his respects. He was at first 
received with distinction, and rode with the Field- 
Marshal to the walls of Szathmar. There the latter 
found fault with the condition of the fortifications, 
whereupon the Commander, Loffelholz, excused him- 
self with the remissness of the county in furnishing 
the prescribed quota of gratuitous labour. Karolyi 
stood up for his county, and told the Margrave 
that it had redeemed its obligation by payment of 
ready money. What Loffelholz had done with it 
he himself ought to know best. In the eyes of 
the Austrian General such a speech was a manifest 




sign of a rebellious disposition, and Karolyi, find- 
ing himself openly suspected by the Margrave, 
left Szathmar and returned to Ecsed. A year 
later he was kindly received in Vienna by the 
old Emperor and his son, King Joseph, and in 
1696 took part in the conferences in Pozsony and 
Vienna. But in the same year he had another 
conflict with the new Commander of Szathmar, 
Count Auersperg, who had, without previous warn- 
ing, sent a captain with a detachment of soldiers 
to Karolyi for the forcible execution of the new 
contribution. As they had no warrant from the 
King or the Commissary-General, Karolyi not 
only refused to pay but, arming his guards, turned 
the captain ignominiously out of his castle. Thanks 
to Bercsenyi's (who then was sitting on the Com- 
missariat at Eperjes) energetic support, he came 
triumphantly out of this affair, but if men of his 
standing were exposed to such slights and vexa- 
tions from the Imperial commanders it may be 
imagined how lesser people fared. 

After his victory at Dolha, Karolyi went to 
Vienna with the standards he had taken from the 
rebels. He understood the situation of his country, 
and he meant frankly to expose it to the Imperial 
Council, and to obtain redress for the most urgent 
grievances. But he got small thanks for his 
pains. The Austrian Ministers were as yet far 
from attributing much importance to the troubles 
in Hungary, and the ease with which the insur- 


gents had been routed by Karolyi, and Rakoczi 
driven back to Zawadka, confirmed them in their 
opinions. The Emperor praised his and his 
ancestors' fidelity, he saw Prince Eugen, Cardinal 
Kollonics, Count Mansfeld, Kaunitz, in fact every- 
body of consequence, he dined with Palatine Ester- 
hazy, Count Nicholas Palffy, and even Chancellor 
Bucellini, but found no hearing for his propositions. 
The reduction of the war-tax was declared to be 
out of time, the organization of the national militia 
to be the concern of General Gombos and Count 
Kohary, the financial concessions which he had 
asked as a reward for the counties of Szathmar 
and Ugocsa to belong to the competency of the 
Treasury. He could not even obtain an order 
for the return of the prisoners whom he had 
made, and whom Count Lowenburg had forced 
him to surrender. When he insisted he found 
not only his advice slighted, but the reality of his 
services doubted. The Imperial Ministers said 
openly that the flags which he had brought were 
not new ones, sent by the living Rakoczi, but had 
belonged to the Prince's grandfather, and were 
taken from some depot or magazine. 

While Karolyi was receiving snubs in Vienna 
his wife was in a worse situation at home. She 
was as thrifty and as keen in money matters as 
her husband, and now found herself menaced 
with the depredation of their estates. The castle 
of Nagy Karolyi, guarded by moats and walls, 




sufficiently garrisoned and provided with heavy 
guns, might well have withstood the kurucz troops, 
but the open country was in their power. Already 
Melith had called and Bercsenyi written summon- 
ing Baroness Karolyi to surrender the castle, and 
threatening ruin and devastation if she refused. 
The poor lady would fain have turned to the win- 
ning side, but as yet did not know which it would 
be. In her embarrassment she sent Bercsenyi's 
letter to Count Lowenburg, bitterly complaining 
at the same time to Count Csaky about the poor 
reward she was reaping for her husband's services, 
to which neither his office nor his duty had obliged 
him. Still she did not surrender at once, but when 
three weeks later Bercsenyi repeated his summons, 
and offered her the alternative between indemnity 
for the past and security for the future or siege and 
further devastation she decided for the former. 

In Karoly, Rakoczi held a council of war with 
Bercsenyi, Orosz, Buday, Melith, and Szlics on 
their further operations, when it was decided to 
lay siege to Szathmar, if not in the hope of taking 
the fort, at least to hold its German garrison in 
check. Ocskay and Borbely, who after the affair 
of Tiszabecs had both been made colonels, were 
sent across the Tibiscus to spread the uprising 
into the regions between this river and the Danube 
and the north-west. 

Adherents now came in from all sides. In his 
camp before Szathmar Rakoczi received the homage 


of the Perenyis, two of whom he made colonels, a 
third his aide-de-camp, and a fourth an usher at 
his court. There also arrived Baron Stephan 
Sennyei with his brothers Francis and Pongracz. 
The two latter were named colonels, but Stephan, 
who had held that rank in the Imperial army, was 
made field -marshal lieutenant, and later became 
Rakoczi's Chancellor. 

Both Rakoczi and Bercsenyi nearly came to 
grief before Szathmar, the former through an 
attempt made against his life by an Imperial officer, 
the latter owing to the fall of his horse during a 
confusion which occurred on a night march. The 
Prince escaped from his adventure without any 
injury, but Bercsenyi was severely bruised, and for 
a week or two laid up in the castle of Nagy Karoly. 

Rakoczi lay about a month before Szathmar. 
His troops having neither supplies nor training for 
siege work, he could not take the fort, but he took 
the town, and finding his army greatly increased in 
number, decided to leave Baron Sennyei in com- 
mand of a blockading force, and to join with the 
bulk of his troops the forces of Bercsenyi, whom he 
had already previously despatched towards Tokay, 
whither the regiment of Montecucoli had retired. 
On breaking up his camp he received the news that 
his Colonel Deak, together with Borbely, had taken 
the fort of Szolnok, and utterly routed a strong 
force of Servians, who, under the command of the 
Imperial Colonel Kyba, had come to its rescue. 




In the meantime, the flames had spread far beyond 
the Tibiscus. Ocskay and Borbely had crossed 
the river by the middle of August, the former 
taking to the north-west, the latter to the west. 
Wherever they appeared, new levies flocked to 
their standards, survivors of the Turkish and 
Tokoli's war, soldiers of the former frontier militia, 
who, under the new order of things had sunk into 
the ranks of tax-paying peasants. Nobles and 
squires at first retired into fortified places and 
looked on, but after a longer or shorter show of 
resistance came out and joined. Their heart was 
with Rakoczi, and if fear for the future might make 
them hesitate, care for the present helped them to 
obey its promptings. The kurucz riders were 
masters of the open country, and ransacked the 
fields, pillaged the houses, and levied taxes from 
the tenants of labancz landowners. Already Ordody 
and Almassy had joined in Heves, and Szikszay, 
better known as Onody Deak Janos, in Borsod. Now 
came the lord of Krasznahorka, George Andrassy 
with his brothers, Nicholas, the former friar, and 
Mathew, soon to be followed by Stephan and Paul, 
who all became colonels, three of them later generals, 
in Rakoczi's army. Triumphantly Ocskay pushed 
on through the counties of Hont, Bars, Nograd, 
and Zolyom, into his native county of Nyitra, 
taking small forts, receiving the allegiance of the 
mining towns, Selmecz, Kormocz, and Bela, and pil- 
fering and plundering everywhere. By the middle 


of September he had reached the banks of the river 
Vagh, and taken the strong place of Leva. Had 
he followed up his successes, and the impression 
produced by them, instead of honeymooning at the 
last-mentioned place, there seems small doubt but 
that he might already then have paid the first visit 
to the confines of Vienna, and taken Nyitra, yea 
even Pozsony itself. By the end of the month 
there was not a county east or north of the 
Danube where kurucz troops had not made their 
appearance, with the sole exception of Pozsony ; and 
Rakoczi was able to write to Lewis XIV., from 
whom he had just received a subsidy of 93,000 
livres, that the whole country to the Danube was 
in his power, that he had taken five fortresses, and 
was enclosing eight more. The representations he 
had made in Poland to du Heron and Bonnac had 
proved true. 

y As towns and forts surrendered, men of standing 
and importance w^ho had taken refuge in them came 
out and swelled the kurucz ranks. With the fall of 
Gacs came Andrew Torok, Adam Gyiirky, Daniel 
Bulyowski, Paul Rhaday, afterwards Chancellor of 
Rakoczi's court, and author of the famous manifesto 
Recrudescunt." Still dearer to Rakoczi*s heart 
was the arrival of Adam Vaj, his former fellow- 
prisoner in Wiener Neustadt, who after the fall of 
Hajnacsko, had retired into Gacs, but now rode 
into the Prince's camp in spite of the bond which 
the Imperial Ministers had made him sign after his 


liberation. After the fall of Kekko came Adam 
Balassa, Francis Berthoty, both colonels, the two 
brothers Rethey, both officers in the Imperial army, 
and many northern squires, Semseys, Revays, Orban 
Czelder, Nicholas Mariassy, old Andrew Radics, 
the former defender of Munkacs, and Baron Janos 
Pongracz. Nowhere was there any support for the 
Imperial cause, not even amongst the German 
citizens of the eastern towns. They were all 
Protestants, and had had as much to suffer from 
the intolerance of the Kollonics regime as their 
Magyar brethren. Nor were the Magyar soldiers 
of the Emperor to be trusted against their country- 
men. When Ocskay rode into Leva a reserve 
squadron of the hussar regiment in which he had 
formerly served was just starting to join the colours 
in Italy. Without drawing a sword they to a man 
went over to Ocskay. 

On his march to Tokay Rakoczi was met by 
Bercsenyi. With the Commander-in-Chief came a 
new arrival, Alexander Karolyi. He had left 
Vienna sore in mind on August 16. When at the 
gates the toll-keeper had exacted a ducat ; Karolyi 
paid, but vowed that he would get it back. On his 
way to Kassa he learned what had happened on his 
estates. The town was full of refugees, nobles, and 
others ; Count Nigrelli could or would not assign 
him any quarters, and he had to find lodgings as 
best he could. In the bitterness of his resentment 
he wrote to his wife's uncle, Count Stephan Kohary, 



that his German garrison had surrendered his 
castle, that his wife and her mother could not find 
refuge in Szathmar, that for eight weeks he had been 
without news from them, but that it was still harder 
that, having arrived here, not on his own but on 
His Majesty's service, he had not been thought 
worthy of a lodging. He further said that he had 
run out of money, and could not see upon what he 
was to live. There seems no doubt that then and 
there he made up his mind to go over to the 
kurucz side. 

Nigrelli ^ died on September 23, after a protracted 
illness. Glockelsperg was appointed his successor, 
but was shut up in Szathmar, and Montecucoli and 
his Lieutenant-Colonel, Veterani, son of the noble 
General who had fallen at Lugos, took temporary 
command, in spite of there being Hungarians of 
higher military rank in the place, such as Francis 
Barkoczy and Emerich Gombos. Karolyi spent his 
time in banqueting with Montecucoli and Veterani, 
and playing cards with Barkoczy ; but in secret he 
was making preparations for leaving the town and 
making overtures to Bercsenyi. On the 7th of 
October he was still drinking with Montecucoli, but 

1 The pleasant and gentlemanly relations which he had always entertained 
with the Hungarian nobles in his district, his connection with the Esterhazy 
family through the marriage of his daughter with Count Anthony, afterwards 
one of Rakoczi's Generals and foremost adherents, together with his failure, due 
to the insufficiency of his means, to suppress the rising at the outset, have 
caused popular rumour and chroniclers of the period to suspect him of con- 
nivance, and to cast suspicion on his fidelity. In the archives of the War 
Department in Vienna not a shadow of justification is to be found for this 


on the next day left Kassa, and on the 9th was in 
Bercsenyi's camp. 

His adherence was the most important personal 
gain which the kurucz cause had as yet made. 
Of the passionate fire which burnt in Rakoczi, 
Bercsenyi, Bottjan, Esterhazy, and so many of the 
minor leaders, there was but little in him, and 
personal motives no doubt largely swayed him in 
his present step. He was a hard-headed man of 
sound judgment, with a keen eye for the main 
chance, who would not allow his feelings to run 
away with him, nor push either devotion to his 
country or hatred of Germans to the point of self- 
abnegation. But he was a Hungarian to the core, 
who loved his country, spoke no other language but 
his own and Latin, and felt all his interests and 
inclinations indissolubly rooted in his home. That 
a man who had so much to lose, and was so careful 
not to lose anything, should throw in his fortunes 
with Rakoczi, augured well for the prospects of the 
cause, and drew the adherence of thousands of 
minor people in his wake. He soon became, and 
remained to the end, one of the most influential 
leaders in the Hungarian Confederacy, in fact its 
most important member after the two original 
leaders. On receiving his allegiance, Rakoczi made 
him forthwith a general, and entrusted him with the 
command of the forces in the region between the 
Tibiscus and the Danube. 

While these things were happening in Hungary 


the tide swept also into Transylvania. Rabutin^ 
was still sitting in Szeben, watching the Turkish 
frontier, husbanding his forces, and distrusting the 
Magyar dignitaries and nobles. In the middle of 
September he moved out, but only to revictual and 
garrison the forts of Kovar and Koloszvar. A force 
of a few thousands of militia, which he sent under 
the command of Samuel Bethlen for the eventual 
succour of Glockelsperg, was surprised and routed 
by Ilosvay. 

Count Pekry,^ Mikes,^ Stephen Thoroczkay, 

^ Rabutin had convoked as many' of the chief nobles and influential men 
as he could to Szeben, and kept them there with their families and treasures. 
When all the open country had passed into the hands of the kurucz, he sent 
a few of them whom he trusted the most to organize a counter rising. 
Amongst them were Pekry, Michael Teleky, Michael Mikes, and Baron Szava. 

2 Lawrence Pekry was then about fifty years old. He belonged to one of 
the foremost and richest families of Transylvania, and had already an eventful 
and chequered career behind him. His wife was first cousin to Emerich 
Tokoli, and he himself a school-fellow and intimate friend of the " kurucz 
King." After the latter's split with the older Teleky, Apaffy's all-powerful 
Minister, the latter had Pekry accused of complicity in Beldy's plot, arrested, 
and his estates confiscated (1679). Although Pekry obtained his liberty from 
Apafly, his estates remained in Teleky's hands ; and the persecutions against 
him being continued, and proceedings for high treason (felony) instituted in 
1686, he took refuge in Hungary and then went to Vienna, in order to obtain 
from the Emperor restitution of his wife's confiscated estates. (She was a 
Petroczy, and all her family had joined Tokoli's cause.) Hitherto a zealous 
Protestant, he became now Roman Catholic, and not only succeeded in his 
suit, but gained favour at Court, entered the army, took part in the reconquest 
of Buda, and became in the course of a few years Chamberlain, Member of the 
Privy Council, General, and finally, in 1692, Count. In Vienna he had met 
and formed friendly relations with Bercsenyi, who was a distant cousin. In 
1690 he had returned triumphantly to Transylvania, retaken possession of his 
estates, and had been appointed Lord-Lieutenant of the county of Feher and 
Captain of Udvarhely. Entrusted by Rabutin with organizing the insurrection 
of the counties, he had been taken prisoner by Rakoczi's troops and Orlay's 
old Tokolians, and sent into Rakoczi's camp in Hungary, where he at once 
offered his allegiance to the Prince. He was forthwith made General, and 
became one of the foremost of Rakoczi's leaders and councillors. He was a 
brave soldier, a clever and insinuating political leader, but a great intriguer. 
On his joining the kurucz cause he returned to his original Protestant faith. 

2 Mikes was taken prisoner together with Pekry ; Szava had been captured 
before ; Teleky joined the kurucz from his own free will at once. 

THE AUTUMN OF 1703 133 

Baron Szava, to whom Rabutin had entrusted the 
organization of the local resistance in different 
counties, fared no better. They were defeated, 
captured, and turned kurucz. Their example was 
followed by Bethlens, Josikas, Banffys, Telekys, 
Gyulays, Lazars, in fact by the bearers of every 
illustrious name in the land. Even some Saxon 
towns followed. At the beginning of 1 704 Rabutin 
still held Szeben and some other strong places, but 
with their exception Transylvania owned Rakoczi 
for lord. 

The powers that were in Vienna could no longer 
entertain any illusions as to the gravity of the 
Hungarian crisis. The year 1703 had been alto- 
gether an unfavourable one for the allies ; but if 
Parliament grumbled in England and the States 
General wavered in their allegiance because of the 
meagreness of the results attained, the outlook in 
Vienna was far more serious and gloomy. The 
Elector's invasion of the Tyrol had ended in failure ; 
but he had won the first battle of Hochstadt in 
September, and stood threatening on the western 
frontier of Austria. Now a new enemy had arisen 
in the east, and if the two could join forces, as was 
the plan of Rakoczi, not only the great results of 
the last Turkish War might be lost, but the worst 
days of 1683 lived over again. Already, on the 6th 
of October, a proclamation had been issued in 
Vienna, enjoining its inhabitants to provide them- 
selves, in view of possible contingencies, with pro- 


visions for a year or to leave the town. On the 
next day the great conference assembled to deliberate 
on Hungarian affairs. The King of the Romans 
presided. With the exception of Count Wratislaw, 
who was accompanying the young King of Spain as 
far as London, all the great men of the day were 
present. There was Prince Eugen, who had just 
been placed at the head of the Hofkriegsrath " ; 
there was his inefficient predecessor Count Mansfeld, 
Prince of Fondi, whom the favour of the old Emperor 
had solaced with the office of Oberstkammerer " 
(Lord Chamberlain); Cardinal Kollonics ; Prince 
Salm, King Joseph's former Governor and soon his 
Prime Minister, who did not like Prince Eugen, 
but liked Hungarians still less ; Chancellor Count 
Buccellini, Rakoczi's inquisitor and judge ; Counts 
Joerger, Oettingen and Kaunitz ; Count Harrach, the 
former Ambassador in Madrid, who had signally 
failed in his mission ; Count Gundacker Starhemberg, 
an able and honest man who, as president of the 
Hofkammer" (head of the Treasury), had to find 
the means, wherewith to execute the decisions of 
the conferences but who — as he himself said — could 
not make something out of nothing, for the 
Almighty alone could do that. Of Hungarians 
there were but two, the old Palatine, Prince 
Esterhazy, and the Chancellor Matyasowski, both 
thoroughly devoted to the Court, but just therefore 
discredited by the nation. 

About the desirability of energetic repression 

THE AUTUMN OF 1703 135 

there could be no question, but the more so about 
its possibility. The Emperor's troops were battling 
on the Rhine in Italy, on the Upper Danube and in 
the Tyrol. They were none too many wherever 
they were, and the allies were most susceptible about 
any being withdrawn from their fields of interest. 
Money there was none at all. The financial 
resources of Austria under Emperor Leopold had 
never been in proportion to his world policies, and 
the death of his Court Jew, Oppenheimer, in the 
preceding month of May had dealt the finishing 
stroke to their chronic disorder. Want of horses, 
of provisions, of ammunition, in short, of money, 
had been the continual and but too just complaint of 
Prince Eugen during his two preceding campaigns 
in Italy. Now that he had seen the inside of things 
in Vienna he wrote to his then friend, Count Guido 
Starhemberg, that if the Monarchy stood on the 
point of a needle and could be saved by 50,000 
florins it would have to perish. 

The decisions taken were the logical outcome of 
this situation. Conciliation was to be tried. The 
outstanding part of the war contribution in Hungary 
for the current year was remitted, an amnesty 
granted to all rebels voluntarily returning to 
obedience, and further alleviation of grievances 
promised. At the same time repressive measures 
were decreed. Troops were withdrawn from the 
camp at Passau, some others from the Margrave 
of Baden's army, and sent to Hungary; the local 


militia of the counties Pozsony, Nyitra, Komarom, 
and Esztergom was to be put into the field under 
Counts Kohary, Forgach, Esterhazy, and Colonel 
Bottyan ; a counter insurrection organized in Croatia, 
and another on the Lower Danube amongst the 
Servians under Colonel Kyba, who already lay 
dying in Szolnok from the wounds he had received 
in his encounter with Deak. 

y A price of 10,000 florins was put on Rakoczi's 
and Bercsenyi's heads, and in order that one wolf 
might slay another, every Hungarian who would 
kill a rebel was promised half of his estates. The 
solicitude of the conference extended even to the 
wives of the two Hungarian leaders. Since their 
husbands' escapes both Princess Rakoczi and 
Countess Bercsenyi ^ had been detained in Vienna, 
where they enjoyed outward freedom, but were 
kept under strict surveillance. It was now decreed 
that, because of their suspicious agitations, they 
should be arrested and removed to the fort of 
Glatz, in Silesia. This decision was, however, 
not confirmed by the Emperor, who declared that 
although the two ladies did not do much good 
in Vienna, and Princess Rakoczi talked far too 
much, they had not been convicted of any positive 
crime, and might therefore remain where they 
were. But two months later, when Bercsenyi had 

1 She was his second wife — Countess Christina Csaky, Like his first 
wife, she was eleven years older than he. Like her, she had also been 
married twice before. Bercsenyi himself remarried a third time in 

THE AUTUMN OF 1703 137 

defeated the Imperial troops and crossed the river 
Vagh, his wife was hurriedly sent to Styria. 

The measures of the conference came too late. 
Remission of taxes, amnesty, and promises of re- 
dress could no longer allay the long pent-up 
discontent of Hungary, and its uprising had passed 
the point where it could be beaten down by a force 
of 5000 or 6000 regular troops. Rakoczi had now 
an organized army, consisting of eleven regiments 
of infantry and eight of cavalry, besides his guards, 
numbering altogether about 30,000 men, while 
fresh levies were daily coming in and rapidly form- 
ing into new regiments.^ 

The command of the Imperial forces was given 
to Count Schlick,^ who had lately fought with small 
success against the Elector, and whose name, from 
his behaviour during the Turkish War, was hateful 
to the Hungarians. His new campaign was short 
and signally disastrous. 

While the Austrian General was preparing his 
advance from Pozsony, Rakoczi lay with about 
4000 men before Tokaj, and Bercsenyi with 9000 
in Eger. He had as yet been unable to take the 
fort, but he had made as important a conquest by 
persuading Bishop Thelekessy, who on his approach 
had intended to leave the town, to remain in his 

^ Stepney's despatch to Hedges, October 20, 1703. State Paper Office, 
Germany, No. 168. 

2 Leopold, Count Schlick of Bassano, had been second plenipotentiary at 
the peace negotiations of Carlowitz, and always more successful in diplomacy 
and at court than in the field. His strongest support at court was his con- 
nection with Wratislaw, whose sister he had married. 


diocese and to join the national cause. Although all 
its principal leaders — Rakoczi, Bercsenyi, Karolyi, 
and later, Esterhazy and Forgach — were as good 
Catholics as Emperor Leopold himself, the cause 
itself had for over a century been so much inter- 
woven with that of Protestant rights that the 
Catholic clergy kept aloof from it. The accession 
of one of their high dignitaries was therefore a 
distinct and most welcome gain to Rakoczi. 

The small army with which Schlick set out on 
his march eastward numbered between 9000 to 
10,000 men. But of these only 5200 were regular 
Imperial soldiers, the rest were Hungarian militia 
whom Generals Kohary and Forgach had levied 
in the west, and Colonels Antal Esterhazy and 
Bottjan in the south. At first everything went 
most smoothly. On the sixth day after he had 
started from Pozsony, Schlick surprised and routed 
Ocskay at Leva, and retook not only the town but 
also its forts. Without waiting for the reinforce- 
ments which were forming in his rear under General 
Ritschan, he pushed on for the reconquest of the 
mining towns, which returned to their former 
allegiance with the same ease with which they had 
left it, and by the middle of November arrived at 
Zolyom. The ease with which he had scattered 
Ocskay's troops, and the small resistance he had 
met with everywhere, made him and his Generals 
undervalue the enemy, and Forgach wrote to Csaky 
from Zolyom on November 13 : — 

n THE AUTUMN OF 1703 139 

Schlick has gone to Bestercze ; he despises the enemy. 
We are waiting for General Ritschan, and then we will 
go for the liberators. Nicholas (Bercsenyi) is in Losoncz, 
from where he writes a great deal. Words he has as 
many as you may wish, but he does not like the smell 
of gunpowder. 

The Hungarian Commander-in-Chief, as soon as 
he learned of Schlick's approach, made up his mind 
to meet him, and for this purpose ordered Karolyi 
to come up with his troops from the south. After 
their juncture at Losoncz, and the arrival of some 
more Polish reinforcements, he had about 20,000 
troops, mostly green levies but burning with the 
desire to give proof of their mettle. Besides, he 
knew the enemy better than the enemy knew him. 
A few days before their meeting he had written 
to Karolyi, There are only a few Germans, most 
of them (Schlick's troops) are county militia. I 
hope to God he will soon turn them." 

Bercsenyi proved a better prophet than Forgach. 
He never gave Ritschan time to arrive, but, while 
Schlick, who with 600 cuirassiers was celebrating 
the Emperor's anniversary in Besztercze, was still 
absent, attacked Forgach with such fury that his 
troops — Germans as well as militia — were huddled 
back into the town of Zolyom in utter confusion. 
Learning of this defeat, Schlick retired with his 
cuirassiers to Bajmocz to effect, if possible, his 
juncture with Ritschan, and sent word to Forgach 
to escape as well as he could, and to the recently 
reconquered towns to swim with the tide and wait 


for better times. Forgach, Esterhazy, Kohary and 
the Imperial Colonel, Viard, succeeded in getting 
out of the town ; but their levies dispersed or went 
over to the enemy. Of the German troops about 
2000 had been killed, wounded, or scattered. When 
a few days later Schlick held a review of his 
remaining forces, he found them to number only 
3000. With these he met Ritschan, who, in his 
turn, had also had an unfortunate encounter with 
a kurucz detachment, and then retired with him 
to Pozsony. 

The moral effect of Bercsenyi's victory was still 
greater. The mining towns at once fell back into 
his power, and this time were heavily mulcted for 
the ease with which they had turned coats. The 
Servians, when on their march to the north they 
learned what had happened, fell back into their 
country. Of the 1400 men whom Esterhazy had 
led into Schlick's camp only 300 returned to 
their homes, the rest became kurucz or dispersed. 
Forgach's and Kohary's levies did the same. Nor 
could their officers resist the patriotic wave which 
was sweeping the country. Brave Stephen Ebeczky, 
who soon became Bercsenyi's special favourite, joined 
at this time. So did a less valuable acquisition. 
Baron Gaspar Pongracz, Ocskay's former lieutenant- 
colonel, who but a few months ago had caused his 
arrest. From everywhere counties and open towns 
sent in their allegiance. Small forts surrendered. 
Ocskay retook Leva, Karolyi the castle of Galgocz, 

THE AUTUMN OF 1703 141 

where he met the Countesses Forgach and Antal 
Esterhazy, and two days later Sempte, where soon 
afterwards Bercsenyi estabhshed his headquarters. 

A gain of yet greater value was the accession of 
Colonel Bottjan to the kurucz cause. The old 
soldier, whose bravery has become legendary in 
Hungarian history, and whose kindness of heart 
made him the idol not only of his men but also 
of the common people whose lands he rode over, 
had been wounded in a personal encounter with 
Ocskay before the battle, and therefore could not 
leave Zolyom with Forgach and the other Generals. 
When the fort surrendered on the 7th of Dec- 
ember, Bercsenyi's lieutenants, Radvanszky, Thomas 
Ebeczky, and Tolvay played with such effect on 
his patriotic fibre that then and there he gave 
promises of his allegiance to Rakoczi. During 
forty years he had served under the Imperial colours, 
fought with distinction in Hungary, Servia, and 
Bulgaria against the Turks, and learned the art 
of war under such leaders as Montecucoli, Zrinyi, 
Prince Charles of Lorraine, the Margrave of Baden, 
Veterani and the great Prince Eugen himself. It 
was no light resolution for the old soldier to change 
his fealty, and he had resisted several offers which 
had been made to him before. But he, too, was 
a Hungarian to the core, and now love of his 
nation prevailed. Rakoczi fully appreciated the 
importance of such an acquisition, and forthwith 
issued the patents appointing Bottjan a general, 


and giving him supreme command of the country 
beyond the Danube. As yet, however, the thing 
was to be kept secret, because Bottjan wished to 
return to Esztergom, where he had held command 
before and had left his wife and valuables. Solici- 
tude for them was not his only motive, for he had 
formed a plan to bring about the surrender of 
this important fortress. 

With the exception of Pozsony and some other 
fortified places the whole country left of the Danube 
was now in kurucz power, and Bercsenyi prepared 
to carry the terrors of war into the enemy's country. 
From his camp at Sempte he issued a proclamation 
to the inhabitants of Moravia and Lower Austria, 
warning them not to take arms against the Hungarian 
nation, who would help them to recover their own 
long-lost liberties. To give weight to his words 
he ordered Karolyi and Ocskay to cross the river 
March, which formed the frontier of the country, 
destroy the defences of the Austrians, and make a 
salutary impression on the people. His orders were 
swiftly executed. On the morning of Christmas Eve 
Karolyi and Ocskay passed the March at Theben 
with about 3000 troops, destroyed the earthworks 
between Schlosshof and Marchegg, burned the 
Imperial castle at the former place, captured its 
commander, Count Oppersdorf, and after having 
pushed their raid within 14 miles of Vienna, returned 
next day into the camp of Sempte with their 
prisoners and booty. 

THE AUTUMN OF 1703 143 

This was the first of the many predatory inroads 
into the Austrian provinces, which for the next 
seven years became a regular feature of the kurucz 
warfare. The frontier districts of Moravia, Lower 
Austria, and Styria had ahke to suffer from the 
flying visits of the kurucz raiders, who generally 
disappeared as fast as they had come, but who 
invariably left destruction and waste in their rear. 
It was in these raids that Ocskay excelled, and 
that he earned the surnames of Prince of Fire " 
and Rakoczi's Lightning Rod." Plunder was un- 
doubtedly a main incentive, but not the only motive, 
for which they were ordered by Rakoczi and his 
Commander-in-Chief, for they often caused a diver- 
sion in the operations of the Austrian Generals 
in Hungary. When the Austrian Ministers and 
courtiers complained, about the cruel devastation of 
their towns, castles, and villages, the Hungarian 
leaders answered by pointing to the mode of warfare 
in Hungary, where certainly Heister's and Rabutin's 
soldiers, and still worse the Servian levies, behaved 
as if they were engaged in a work of simple extir- 
pation. They might have further pointed to other 
examples. If war is hell now, it was doubly so 
in the seventeenth century, when the laying waste 
of the enemy's country was a received mode of 
operation. The French had done so in the Pala- 
tinate not long ago. The Austrian Board of War, 
when they drew up the plan of the Bavarian 
campaign for 1703, had instructed General Schlick — 

144 HUNGARY'S FIGHT chap, n 

in case he should be too weak to achieve anything 
against the Elector in the open field — to lay his 
country in ashes and make a Tartar wall of it for 
the protection of Austria. And the deeds of the 
Bavarians during their short-lived invasion of the 
Tyrol rivalled the performances of the French and 
the intentions of the Austrians. 

Already before Karolyi's raid consternation and 
alarm had reigned in Vienna. The Emperor's 
furniture had been removed from his summer palace 
in the Favoriten to the Hofburg, the erection of 
those outer lines of fortification, which have only 
disappeared in the lifetime of the present generation, 
had been commenced, and the inhabitants of the 
suburbs had flocked into the inner town, crowding the 
gates and streets. Count Schlick was deprived of his 
command, the Austrian militia called to arms, and 
Count Traun, the Land-Marshal of Austria, went in 
person to supervise the fortifications on the March. 
On December 12 the crown of St. Stephen, which 
was always guarded in Pozsony, was brought to 
Vienna. But these measures dealt only with the 
exigencies of the hour. The question was what to 
do with regard to the Hungarian Revolution, and 
it was great enough to require the attendance of 
the greatest man. So Prince Eugen was sent to 
Pozsony to devise for the situation, to provide and 
organize new means of forcible repression, or if 
possible to arrange a peaceable accommodation. 


First negotiations for peace ; English and Dutch mediation ; the 
situation in Europe — The Emperor's miHtary forces and 
financial resources ; the Imperial Commanders in Hungary, 
Heister and Palffy. 

If Austria is not strong enough to carry on the 
war simultaneously in Italy and on the Rhine, and 
to suppress the rebels, the only way for her is to 
pacify the latter by giving them good terms." Thus 
wrote Sir Charles Hedges, then Secretary of State, 
to Mr. Whitworth, his charge d'affaires in Vienna, 
instructing him at the same time to offer England's 
good offices for the purpose. The same advices 
and offers came from The Hague. Unpalatable as 
they were, they could not simply be laid aside in 
Vienna as a previous similar suggestion from the 
King of Poland had been. For the attainment of 
the objects of the great war against Lewis XIV. 
Austria was altogether dependent on England and 
Holland ; at all times during its twelve years' dura- 
tion they were masters of the situation,^ but at no 
other moment was there a more dire need for their 

1 "The maritime Powers have the statum totius belli in their hands, and 
therefore are, and always will be, masters of the peace." Wratislaw to 
Charles, August lo, 17 lo. 

145 L 


assistance than in the early winter of 1704, when 
the Elector of Bavaria had taken Passau, when his 
juncture with Rakoczi's forces under the walls of 
Vienna seemed a contingency of the near future, 
and when Marlborough's assent to the transfer of 
the campaign from the banks of the Meuse to those 
of the Danube seemed a matter of life or death to 
the Imperial Court. 

Giving terms to the rebels was rather a euphem- 
ism, for they had sought none, and it was as yet 
to be ascertained whether they would take any. 
It was a bitter pill for Emperor Leopold and his 
Ministers to approach Rakoczi and Bercsenyi, on 
whose heads they had set a price but a few weeks 
ago ; but if it was to be swallowed, it might as well 
be done without the intervention of foreign physicians. 
As a result of the Emperor's divided councils and 
his own hesitations, steps were taken to make direct 
overtures to the Hungarian leaders. Having asked 
and obtained, through Bishop Pyber, a safe conduct 
for his private secretary, Jeszensky, the Palatine sent 
the latter to Bercsenyi ostensibly to ascertain the 
causes of the rising, but in reality to see how its 
leaders, and notably Bercsenyi, could be appeased. 
At the same time an emissary of a different kind 
was despatched to Rakoczi. During his residence 
in Vienna he had been much impressed by the 
charms of a lady of rank, and it was now thought 
that her seductions might be usefully employed on 
him. Accordingly the fair widow was prevailed 


upon to travel in midwinter from Vienna to Tokaj. 
She did not get there, however, without some 
adventures, as the Imperial commander of Buda, not 
knowing the nature of her errand, stopped her on 
her journey, and only set her free after Prince Eugen 
had sent a special messenger post-haste for the 

These secret and confidential missions were but 
the overture of a regular diplomatic action into 
which the Imperial Court entered very much against 
its wishes, but which for the next three years held 
not only its own and its allies' attention, but became 
a matter of interest to almost every Cabinet in 
Europe. In the beginning the fear of derogating 
the Emperor's dignity, and of encouraging the 
rebels by negotiating with them, was prominent 
in the considerations of the Austrian statesmen, 
and even Prince Eugen, whose range of views was 
higher than those of the other Imperial councillors, 
warned the Palatine not to send anybody of official 
character to Bercsenyi. But from Lisbon to 
Moscow, and from Stockholm to Naples, Europe 
stood in flames, the Hungarian cause had become 
part of the world's affairs, and those reserves and 
precautions had to be dropped. Official negotiators 
were appointed, the English and Dutch mediation 
accepted, and formal conferences ^ held, where the 
Imperial plenipotentiaries, with a cardinal of the 
House of Lorraine at their head, treated with those 

1 Whitworth to Hedges, January 5, 1704, State Paper Office, No. 173. 


of Rakoczi through the channel of the mediators. 
The long and arduous labours came to nought. 
For their failure both sides have laid the responsi- 
bility at their adversaries' door, and to this day the 
judgments of Hungarian and Austrian historians 
reflect the passions of bygone centuries, each side 
accusing the other of lack of sincerity, measureless 
pretensions, and arrogance. 

Early in 1704 Rakoczi had issued a manifesto 
to all the princes and powers of the Christian world 
to explain and justify his cause.^ Like the famous 
declaration which went forth from Philadelphia 
seventy -two years later, it was an appeal to the 
public opinion of mankind and an arraignment of 
the Prince against whom he had taken arms. 
Referring to the causes of former Hungarian 
revolutions, it exposed the griefs the country had 
suffered during the present reign, and declared the 
resolution to free it from the Austrian yoke. 

In Vienna they had underrated the importance 
of the movement when it began, and now they 
were underrating the aims and ability of the leaders. 
Widely as the Emperor's Austrian councillors 
differed on most questions, and bitterly as they 
intrigued against each other,^ they were all united 
in their judgment on men and things in Hungary. 
The standard-bearers of the regime now drawing 

1 This is the manifesto beginning " Recrudescunt antiqua vulnera," 
written in elaborate Latin. 

2 Feldzuge des Prinzen Eugen, vol. v. p. 25 ; Whitworth to Hedges, 
January 16, 1704. 


to its end, the old Emperors contemporaries, 
the Kollonics, Oettingen,^ Mansfeld,^ Buccellini,^ 
Harrach,* and others, naturally saw in the 
Hungarian leaders nothing but ambitious rebels, 
who had only their own aggrandisement at heart. 
Nor did the men of the dawning reign, who had 
no share in, and bore no responsibility for, the past, 
take a juster or more lenient view. Prince Eugen 
himself, who invariably had his master s and not his 
own interests at heart, and who frankly and loyally 
exposed to him the inefficiency and the abuses of 
his administration, judged the moment to be one 
for repression and not for conciliation. In the 
representations he wrote from Pozsony to the 
Emperor he unceasingly insisted on the necessity 
of energetic measures, on the speedy collecting of 
reinforcements, on the providing of the necessary 
funds for paying the troops, be it from the great 
nobles and the clergy, who might well be put to 
contribution in the present crisis. The only con- 
vinced advocates of reconciliation were the labancz 
Hungarians, who, though faithfully devoted to the 

1 Count Wolfgang Wallerstein Gettingen (born 1629), who had been first 
plenipotentiary for the conclusion of the Peace of Carlowitz, was then 
President of the Reichshofrath. 

2 Count, afterwards Prince, Henry Franz Mansfeld (born 1640) had 
succeeded Count Starhemberg as President of the Board of War {Hofkriegsrath), 
in which office he had to make place for Prince Eugen two years later, 
and afterwards became Lord High Chamberlain {Oberstkdnwierer), a great 
mediocrity. He died in 171 5. 

3 Buccellini had succeeded Stratmann as Chancellor for Austria, and as 
such had conducted the trial of Rakoczi. 

Count Harrach had been ambassador in Madrid, and afterwards succeeded 
Prince Dietrichstein as Obersthofmeister. With regard to this office see 
pp. 51 and 69. 


Court, in the service of which they had incurred their 
unpopularity at home, yet felt for the wrongs of 
their country. In the days of peace their influence 
in Vienna had been small, and the old Palatine, 
than whom nobody had rendered greater services 
to the dynasty, had seen his mild representations 
on his country's behalf spurned. Now in the days 
of pressure the Emperor would have been well 
disposed to listen to their advices, but so deeply 
were they discredited with the nation that their 
employment was considered to do more harm than 

The private correspondence of the kurucz 
leaders and the despatches of Whitworth, which are 
the chief sources for the history of those days, do 
not tell us how the fair emissary fared in Rakoczi's 
camp. With Bercsenyi Jeszensky achieved nothing. 
To his hints at office, rank, and donations the 
Hungarian General replied that he had not taken 
arms for his family's promotion but for public liberty, 
and at the Palatine's question regarding the causes of 
the uprising he simply expressed astonishment that 
it should have been asked. The decision about 
peace or war belonged to the nation, who would 
express their wish in a diet held on the model of 

1 Count Dietrichstein writes on February 9 to King Charles III. : "We 
have had a conference here on Hungarian matters. The emissary from the 
rebels did not think it advisable that the magnates as the cardinal (Kollonics), 
the palatine, chancellor, etc., should assist, and it seems that in this way 
nothing can be achieved. I think therefore that we shall avail ourselves 
of Germans only." Hof- und Staatsarchiv in Vienna, Fasc, 72 f., Grosse 
Correspondenz, letters of Count Dietrichstein to Charles III. (VI.) 1 703-1 706. 


those which Bethlen and Tokoli had called, and if the 
Court was sincere, neither he himself nor his country- 
men would show themselves adverse to an arrange- 
ment. But they did not want the Palatine's 
mediation, as they considered him an accomplice 
in the subversion of the constitution. 

If the Austrian statesmen had expected to sow 
jealousy between Rakoczi and Bercsenyi by address- 
ing their first serious overtures to the latter, their 
hopes were doomed to disappointment. On Bishop 
Pyber's application Bercsenyi had issued the pass- 
ports for Jeszensky, but forthwith informed Rakoczi 
of what he had done. Voices were not wanting in 
the Court of the Prince to accuse the General of 
having outstepped his powers and wanting to 
concentrate all threads in his hands. But Rakoczi 
behaved with consummate tact. He implicitly 
trusted Bercsenyi, but fearing that, by showing the 
full measure of his confidence, he might be thought 
a mere puppet in his friend's hands, he approved his 
conduct, but frankly informed him of the suspicions 
it had given rise to, and sent his own passports for 
Esterhazy's envoy. 

The Palatine's mediation being discarded, the 
Court cast its eyes on Archbishop Szechenyi, 
whose courageous opposition to Cardinal Kollonics' 
schemes a few years before had endeared him to the 
nation. On the 2nd of January he received the 
Emperor's commission as official negotiator, and at 
the end of the month had an interview with Bercsenyi 


and Karolyi at Leben Szent Miklos. The two kurucz 
generals declared that they could not enter into 
any negotiations without orders from Rakoczi, but 
left no doubt in the Archbishop's mind that a 
foreign guarantee would be insisted upon, and that 
unless this point was conceded no propositions for 
an arrangement would be entertained/ Rakoczi 
himself, to whom Szechenyi now wrote, spoke in still 
stronger terms, and in a letter, which reflected the 
bitterness of his recollections, declared that he 
would readily swallow the gilded bait now offered 
if he did not know from experience the taste of 
Austrian pills, but that after the lessons of the past 
something more was required than promises of 
redress at a future diet. 

Following up Bercsenyi's thought, Szechenyi had 
proposed to the Prince that as he was master of the 
country he should convoke a diet. But the idea 
met with scant approval on either side. Emperor 
Leopold would not hear of a diet called by any one 
but himself, and Rakoczi saw in the proposition an 
Austrian snare tending to sow discord amongst 
his adherents. The majority of them were Protest- 
ants, he and his principal generals Catholics. It 
seemed unavoidable that the former would bring 
their grievances before the diet and insist on the 
restitution of their churches and other property as 
stipulated by the Treaty of Linz. Already the 

1 Szechenyi to the Emperor, January 28, the same to Rakoczi on the 
same date7 and Rakoczi to Szechenyi, February 5. Histoire des Rivoluiioiis^ 
pp. 187-191. 


Emperor's confidential emissaries were working on 
their fears and jealousies, and pointing to Lewis 
XIV.'s treatment of Protestants in his own country, 
warning them of their danger from Rakoczi and his 
CathoHc alHes. In order to allay their fears the 
Prince had to assure them on oath that France and 
Bavaria would never interfere with their internal 
affairs, even if their armies joined with his on 
Hungarian soil. Under the circumstances he 
judged the holding of a diet to be inopportune, and 
after a further exchange of correspondence invited 
Szechenyi to a personal interview at Gyongyos. 

In vain also did the Archbishop try to convince 
Rakoczi and Bercsenyi that what he called an 
intrinsic safeguard, viz. the bestowal of all offices 
on Hungarians and the confirmation of their right 
to carry arms, was far more valuable than a guarantee 
from foreign powers. In vain did the Emperor 
suggest that, if his Hungarian subjects wanted an 
intermediary, the task should be entrusted to his 
son, their crowned king. In vain did King Joseph 
write himself to Szechenyi and declare that although 
he had, in obedience to his coronation oath, hitherto 
abstained from all interference with the government 
of Hungary, he stood ready to employ his mediation 
now if it was asked for. The Hungarian leaders 
would not yield, and, distasteful as it seemed to the 
Imperial Court, it had to consent, if not to the 
demanded guarantee, at least to the principle of 
foreign intervention. On March 4 the Emperor 


informed Szechenyi that he had accepted the offices 
of his good allies, England and Holland, for the 
pacification of Hungary. But before coming to 
this resolution another attempt was made to win 

In the early days of the Hungarian uprising 
everybody in Austria — and in fact in Hungary as 
well — considered Bercsenyi its intellectual head. 
If it required the lustre of Rakoczi's name to carry 
Hungary, the power of organization and command 
seemed to belong to his older friend. Since his 
twelfth year Rakoczi had lived but a few years in the 
country, and then quietly on his estates. Everybody 
knew his name, but very few knew him personally at 
the time he reappeared from his exile in Poland. 
Bercsenyi had held high office, had been constantly 
before the public eye, and everybody who was anybody 
knew him and he them. He seemed to have created 
order out of chaos, and he not only held supreme 
military command, but was supposed to be the only 
person possessing the requisite talents for holding 
it. If he could be detached from the cause, it might 
naturally fall to pieces by itself. Historical examples 
were not wanting. Perenyi had been won by the 
Chancellorship in the sixteenth century — why not 
Bercsenyi ? So a second confidential mission 
was sent to him, this time with the positive 
offer of the Hungarian Chancellorship. Well might 
Baron Gabor Tolvay and Jeszensky, who were 
selected for the office, lay stress on the point that to 


the Chancellor belonged the execution of all laws 
and treaty stipulations, that therefore his tenure of 
the office would be the most effectual security for 
his party, and that he could accept it without a stain 
on his honour. It stands to reason, although it is 
not mentioned in the State papers, that they must 
have hinted at still higher possibilities. The Pala- 
tine was old, besides discredited before the nation. 
Who would be more fit for his succession than the 
man who would have made peace between the 
crown and the nation ? 

As a further token of their amiable dispositions 
for Bercsenyi, the Imperial Government resolved 
to release his wife from her confinement in Styria, 
and to return her to her husband. The occasion 
was made one of pomp and honour. Prince Eugen 
ordered the escort which was to accompany the 
Countess from Vienna to Pozsony. From there 
she started in a carriage drawn by six horses, 200 
German dragoons followed, 500 kurucz hussars 
waited outside the town for her. All together they 
arrived at the town of Szent Gyorgy (St. George), 
where she had 400 ducats (about 200) ^ distributed 
amongst the German soldiers, besides giving a 
banquet to the entire escort, at which Hungarians 
and Germans toasted together the House of 
Bercsenyi. The tips of the greatest people nowa- 

1 A German ducat was about lo francs of nowadays, a Hungarian ducat 
a little more, about los. It is most difficult to compare the buying 
power of money then and now. Vide d'Avenel's work on the subject. 
Roughly speaking, it might be estimated four to five times higher than now. 


days seem very poor when compared to the largesses 
of their ancestors two hundred years ago. 

But Bercsenyi was not to be won by either baits 
or blandishments. His was a proud and domineer- 
ing nature, but high as his ambitions soared, they 
were indissolubly linked to the cause which he had 
espoused. He answered Tolvay and Jeszensky 
as he had answered before, and as he was shortly 
afterwards to repeat to Hamel Bruyninx, the Dutch 
envoy who came to see him on a similar errand. 
He was a kind and most attentive husband, and he 
received his wife with all the display they both 
were fond of But it was she who doted on him, 
and who, in spite of her labancz connections,^ soon 
became as stout a kurucz as himself And glad as 
he was to see her out of Austrian power, her 
numerous attendants and all the paraphernalia of 
her establishment were rather a strain on his 
present way of life. After the joy of the first 
meeting had worn off he wrote to Karolyi, whose 
wife had also wanted to join him in the camp, 
that he was quite right not to let her come, for 
woman is sweet, but a wife to a warrior only a 

While these offers and attentions came to one 
of the erstwhile proscribed exiles, a royal crown 
came within reach of the other. Charles XH. was 
then in the full swing of his wonderful career, and 

1 Her daughter Marguerite by her first husband Erdody was married to 
Count Kery, one of the most faithful and trusted adherents of the Court, 
afterwards Hungarian Master of the Horse of Emperor Joseph I. 


sternly resolved to punish Augustus of Saxony 
by the loss of his Polish crown. At his bidding 
the diet in Warsaw declared the throne vacant/ 
and shortly afterwards the Cardinal Primate Radzie- 
iowski, with the understanding of Lubomirski, 
Sieniawski, and some other grandees of the French 
faction, offered the nomination to Rakoczi. The value 
of the offer depended on Charles XH., but con- 
sidering his relations with France and Lewis XIV. 's 
views on the matter there seemed no reasonable 
doubt that his consent might be obtained. But 
Rakoczi had no wish to entertain the offer. He 
felt that he owed himself to his own country, and 
that he could not in honour abandon her cause 
for a foreign crown. Nor did he judge that her 
interests allowed any meddHng with Poland's com- 
plications. So he sent Paul Rhaday and Michael 
Okolicsany to thank the cardinal and to explain 
his refusal. But he availed himself of the occasion 
to make an appeal to Charles XII. for assistance 
on the strength of the treaty concluded between 
their grandfathers. At the same time he assured 
Augustus, who had sent an envoy to him, of the 
continuance of his loyal friendship. 

In the meantime war had gone on without inter- 
ruption. The Austrians were for the present 
reduced to preparing their forces for a future 
campaign. The Hungarians, being left masters 
of the operations, had three objects in view, 

1 January 24, 1704. 


viz. to carry the revolution across the Danube and 
to get this remaining part of the country into their 
power, to continue the raids into the neighbouring 
hereditary provinces, and, thirdly, to reduce the forts 
still held by the Imperials. For these purposes 
Bercsenyi sent Karolyi across the Danube with a 
force of 5000 men, and organized flying detach- 
ments with headquarters at Stomfa, Szakolcza, and 
Szent Gyorgy under Bokros and Ordody, while the 
operations before the forts, owing to the want of 
siege material, were confined to investment and 
their result confided to time. 

Everything was prepared in the south, and the 
Magyar squires there were as ready to welcome the 
kurucz liberators as their brethren in the north 
and east had been. Ladislas Sandor, an influential 
member of the local gentry, had constituted himself 
their leader, and together with John Bezeredy 
ridden into Bercsenyi's camp to invite him into 
their country. But as there were no bridges and 
the kurucz troops had no boats, they had to wait 
until the Danube was frozen. When Karolyi came 
on the nth of January the events of last summer 
and autumn repeated themselves, and all that he 
had to do was to receive the deputations who came 
from all sides, on foot and on horseback, with 
banners flying, to offer their allegiance. The best 
names of that part of the country — Cziraky, Viczay, 
Szapary, Chernel, Sigray, Pazmandy — were amongst 
the newcomers ; amongst them also Daniel Ester- 




hazy, up till now a royal colonel, forthwith to 
be made general. In a short time Karolyi's forces 
had quintupled in numbers, and there being no 
enemy in sight anywhere, he dispersed his regiment 
in all directions to establish the new regime, and 
to receive on their way the surrender of towns and 
forts. In a few weeks the Imperial power in the 
south was reduced to the strongholds of Buda, 
Gyor, Esztergom, Szigetvar, Soprony, and two or 
three smaller places. 

Even Soprony might have been taken had 
Ocskay done his duty and profited by the first 
consternation. Karolyi had sent him with about 
500 riders before this important town to summon 
it to surrender. Its citizens were all Germans 
and faithfully devoted to the reigning house. But 
they were frightened, and there was no garrison 
of regular soldiers within their walls. They began 
to parley with Ocskay, and invited him to honour 
their town with his visit. He came and spent three 
days rioting in the stews. Seeing whom they had 
to deal with, the citizens redeemed their vineyards 
and mills outside the town by taking letters of 
protection from Ocskay at 4 florins a piece, sent a 
deputation to Karolyi to negotiate for their sur- 
render, and another to Vienna for a military garrison. 
By the time the first deputation returned from 
Karolyi with his demand of a contribution of 50,000 
florins. Colonel Blomberg had arrived with 400 
Imperial regulars, and the lost opportunity could 


never be recovered in spite of subsequent sieges 
and bombardments. 

If Karolyi had been quick to seize the country, 
he failed to establish a firm hold over it. The 
officers he had brought with him, and to whose 
advice he listened, were mostly survivors of Tokoli's 
campaigns, whose ruling ideas were to avoid de- 
cisive encounters, to set Austrian pitfalls every- 
where, and to roam over the country and take 
booty. Their counsels regulated his conduct, and 
instead of marching with his superior numbers on 
the Austrian General, who was organizing his small 
forces on the banks of the Leitha, he established 
himself in Esterhazy's famous castle, Kis-Marton, 
and sent looting expeditions into the adjacent 
country. He was not a disciplinarian, nor was he 
above taking care of his worldly interests while 
fighting his country's battles.^ Small wonder that 
his troops did not behave much better on friendly 
than on hostile territory. Their excesses and the 
favour shown to them soon bred estrangement and 
mutual distrust between Karolyi and the people 
of the Trans-Danubian counties, the consequences 
of which made themselves felt when Heister began 
his campaign and turned the^ tables on the kurucz 

Another mistake was committed with regard to 
the Servians. While Karolyi was still in Papa 

1 After the looting of Lackenbach and Keresztur, Mathias Gayer, one of 
his lieutenants, sent him i6 lead dishes, 13 lead plates, 200 pints of butter, 
300 eggs, and a barrel with fruit. 




receiving the homages of the country for Rakoczi, 
he had also sent letters patent to the Servian 
population exhorting them not to be hostile to the 
Magyar cause, and offering his protection for their 
friendly promises. On the banks of the Drave and 
the Lower Danube his words had been well re- 
ceived, and many Servians had accepted his letters 
of protection, and even promised their active 
assistance. But in the meanwhile Rakoczi had 
sent Colonels Deak and Emerich Ilosvay with 
5000 men against the Servian levies, who, under 
Generals Kreutz and Monasterli, had marched to 
Schlick's assistance, but had turned back when 
they heard of the battle of Zolyom, and were now 
advancing again on Duna Foldvar. The Hun- 
garians routed the enemy utterly, took Kreutz, 
together with 200 Germans as prisoners, and then 
pursued the rest into their counties, where they 
burned their villages, put the population to the 
sword, not sparing women and children, in revenge 
for what the Servians had done the previous year 
in the county of Bihar. But on that day, as 
Karolyi remarks in his Autobiography, Servian 
faith in the Magyars was finally lost. And John 
Hellepront, a good kurucz, who had himself raised 
a regiment, wrote to Karolyi that this was not the 
way to make the Magyar cause prosper, and that 
he had better send another army to keep this one 
in order. 

In the North Tokaj had surrendered on New 



Year's Day. Shortly afterwards Kovar followed 
its commander, Count Michael Teleky, soon to 
become one of Rakoczi's most zealous partisans 
in Transylvania. On the 28th Murany, once 
Wesselenyi's stronghold, capitulated. But far more 
important and gratifying were the surrenders of 
Munkacs and Unghvar, Rakoczi's and Bercsenyi's 
family castles. The former, then an almost im- 
pregnable stronghold on an isolated rock, was 
surrendered by Count Auersperg on February 16, 
the latter by Captain Schwetlick ten days later. 
New men, who were soon to rise to importance, 
came with those places to the kurucz cause, such as 
George Ottlyk, Rakoczi's Court -Marshal ; George 
Rathy, his Private Secretary; George Horvath, 
Bercsenyi's Court-Marshal, later head of the Com- 
missariat ; and John Szentivanyi, Colonel and Aide- 
de-Camp to Bercsenyi. 

Prince Eugen spent a whole month in Pozsony, 
labouring hard to put the Emperor's affairs into 
some shape. But there was nothing there which 
seemed defensible but the sound of his great name. 
Of troops, he found the remnants of Schlick's small 
corps, and all he could do with them was to protect 
the approaches to Vienna on the right bank of the 
Danube. His views on the situation were clear 
and decided, and he frankly told the Emperor that 
never in its history had his house been in greater 
danger, that everything was hanging on a thread, 
and unless energetic measures were not only re- 


solved upon but carried out, Hungary and even 
more would be lost. But the mills of the Austrian 
administration ground slowly, and reinforcements 
and money were forthcoming with difficulty. 

The Emperor's army in 1703 consisted of thirty- 
eight regiments of infantry and as many of cavalry, 
besides the artillery, which in those days formed a 
guild rather than a military corps, and did not figure 
in the ordres de bataille. On paper those seventy- 
six regiments represented a force of 135,000 men, 
but none of them was complete, and in reality 
there were but 76,359 men in the field. The 
greater part of them — twenty-two regiments of 
infantry and sixteen of cavalry — about 34,000 men 
— stood in Italy, where the Emperor carried on the 
war alone. Nine regiments of infantry and sixteen 
of cavalry — about 28,000 men — were in Germany, 
on the Upper Rhine, and on the Austro- Bavarian 
frontiers. The rest — seven regiments infantry and 
six cavalry — were in Hungary and Transylvania. 
Lewis XIV. had about 229,000 troops in the field, 
including those of his Spanish and Bavarian allies. 
To make up for the disparity, the Emperor had 
to count on England, Holland, and the German 

Including the troops they had hired from different 
German princes, the two maritime powers had a 
force of about 80,000 infantry and 20,000 cavalry 
in the Netherlands. This army was commanded 
by the Duke of Marlborough, and, chiefly owing to 


the fears and jealousies of the States-General, not 
easily available for operations far removed from 
the Dutch frontier. The military organization of 
the German Empire corresponded to the shadowy 
nature of its own existence. It still was based 
on its divisions into ten circles, established by 
Maximilian I. about 200 years ago. Each circle 
had to furnish its own contingent, according to the 
number of troops voted by the diet. The minimum 
number had been establised in 1681 at 40,000 men, 
and the diet of 1702 had voted that it should be 
trebled. But as the circles were not only never 
united in purpose, but there were also constant dis- 
sensions within their own limits, the full number was 
never put into the field, and the troops levied were 
of very different value. The total number of these 
contingents amounted in 1703 to about 28,000 men. 

The real fighting power of the German race 
was not represented in the Empire's army, but 
in the troops of the different territorial sovereigns. 
The Elector of Bavaria had increased his army in 
1702 from 15,000 to 27,000 men, and in the follow- 
ing year he raised 13,000 troops more. These 
were fighting against the Emperor. The Elector 
of Saxony had an army of nearly 40,000 men, but 
they were none too many, even with his Russian 
allies, against Charles XI I. 's as yet invincible power. 
He had furnished to the Emperor an auxiliary force 
of about 5200 men. So had the King of Prussia, 
whose army numbered likewise about 40,000 men. 


Besides, the Emperor had about 3500 Danish troops 
in his pay, some of whom were now sent to 

Roughly speaking, the great alliance had about 
210,000 troops in the field against Lewis XIV. 's 
229,000, but how different the unity of command 
and disposition on the two sides. 

The Emperor's financial means stood in an even 
worse proportion to his wide-reaching aims than 
his military power. In fact, if he could have found 
more money he could have easily put more soldiers 
into the field. But there was not money enough 
in the Treasury to pay those who were there already, 
and the condition they were left in was truly 
pitiable. After having taken possession of his 
office in Vienna, Prince Eugen laid a memorial 
before the Emperor on the state of his affairs, 
especially of his troops. The regiments in Italy 
were the flower of the Imperial army, being those 
who had fought and conquered before in the long 
wars against the Turks, on the Rhine and in the 
Netherlands. They had been 54,000 in number 
when the war began. For three years they had 
been fighting, receiving neither reinforcement, pro- 
visions, nor pay in time. Now they had shrunk to 
half of their original number ; the cavalry being 
mostly without horses, the infantry without boots, 
the officers without money, and the Emperor in 
debt for his Italian army for over 4 million florins.^ 

1 Eugen to Emperor Leopold, Vienna, August ii, 1704. 


But if the condition in Italy was bad, it was still 
worse in Hungary.^ 

The expenses of the war for 1703 had been 
estimated by the Imperial Board of Treasury at 28 
million florins, the possible revenues at 58 million, 
but the Board had added that of the latter sum only 
28 million were likely to flow in.^ In fact, the 
revenues never reached, and the expenses always 
exceeded, the estimates. Every payment was in 
arrear, and the administration lived from hand to 
mouth. In the consternation produced by the battle 
of Zolyom the proposition had been made to take 
money wherever it could be found, and to confiscate 
all deposits — funds belonging to orphans, charities, 
etc. — against future restitution. The Emperor did 
not sanction this extreme measure, and ordered 
instead an anticipation of next year's taxes. The 
confiscation of all silver in churches was likewise 
decreed, and recourse taken to loans from some 
of the great nobles. The eflect of these measures 
was small, and the repartitioned assessments of 

1 " The men die for want of medicine owing to the unhealthy and un- 
accustomed climate, and to bad quarters where sick and healthy are huddled 
together on the naked floor without clothing," report of the Hofkammer to 
the Emperor, March 22, 1704. 

" I pity all the poor devils who are sent to Hungary to die there without 
any profit," Thiel to Prince Eugen, November 12, 1704. 

It is, however, but fair to remember that similar conditions prevailed also 
elsewhere. Marshal Tesse's letters to Lewis XIV. from his camp before 
Gibraltar, give a glaring picture- of the utter inadequacy of the means with 
which the siege of that fortress was undertaken and the incompetency of the 
Spanish administration. 

2 The most problematic items figured in these estimates ; thus a loan of 
2 million to be hoped for from Czar Peter, i million for the sale of Rakoczi's 
confiscated estates, another miUion from England, who had promised a subsidy 
of ;^5o,ooo for Italy on condition that Holland would contribute the same, 
15 million for lands confiscated in Bohemia long ago, etc. 


the different countries remained the most reliable, 
and important sources of revenue. But of their 
estimated total of 12 million, four fell on Hungary, 
and under existing conditions were absolutely 

Stirred by Eugen's warnings and the imminent 
peril, hemmed in by other exigencies and the 
limitations of their resources, the Imperial Ad- 
ministration exerted themselves as well as they 
could. Recruits were enrolled. Danish regiments 
ordered to Moravia, a loan was obtained from 
Count Czernin, and slowly a new army corps formed, 
which, toward the end of the winter, numbered 
about 7000 men on foot, and 5000 mounted, and 
which was placed in intervals along the Hungarian 
frontiers from Silesia in the north, to Hainburg 
and Soprony in the south. Its command was 
given to Count Siegbert Heister, mainly for the 
reason that he happened to be available. A worse 
selection could hardly have been made. Heister 
was an old soldier who had then served in the 
Imperial army thirty -nine years, and held an 
honourable record for bravery and energy. As 
Colonel he had taken part in the defence of Vienna 
in 1683, Lieutenant-General had commanded 

the right wing of the army in the battle of Zenta. 
But military talents of the higher order he had 
none, statesmanlike abilities such as his new com- 
mand required still less. Obstinate, brutal, and 
cruel, he saw in the extermination of the Hungarian 


rebels a congenial task, but through his ill-conceived 
operations, boundless exactions, and inability to 
co-operate with others, became almost as great a 
scourge to his own soldiers as to the unfortunate 
country on which he was to descend. Already, 
when in the past summer he had been entrusted 
with the defence of the Tyrol against the Elector's 
invasion. Prince Eugen had written that he did 
not like the appointment, and a few months later 
the Emperor had been obliged to recall him as 
much for his military shortcomings, as because of 
the complaints of the Tyrolese against him. But 
he enjoyed the favour of Mansfeld and Buccellini, 
and he happened to be on the spot when, after 
Schlick's failure, a new general was wanted. Before 
accepting the command, Heister insisted on being 
made Field- Marshal, on receiving 600 florins per 
month table-money, and the promise of a rich estate 
in Hungary after the subjugation of the rebels. 

A far better appointment had been made a few 
days before. The office of Banus of Croatia had 
become vacant through the death of Count Batthany, 
and on Prince Eugen's recommendation was given 
to Count John Palffy, who, though fifteen years 
younger than Heister, had already a distinguished 
military career behind him, and who, like his older 
brother Nicholas, was one of the few Hungarians 
whom the Court of Vienna fully trusted. The 
position of those labancz nobles who, though faith- 
fully devoted to the reigning dynasty, yet loved 


their country, was indeed a difficult one. In Vienna 
they were distrusted by their own countrymen, 
looked upon at best as servile souls who sold the 
birthright of a free nation for titles and donations. 
Nobody steered better between the cliffs of these 
dangerous straits than the two brothers Palffy. 
It was the destiny of the younger to play the 
most important part in the final act of the great 
drama, and by the services then rendered alike 
to king and nation, to reconcile the duties he 
owed to both. But at present he had to begin 
his career by organizing a counter rising in Croatia, 
and by letting loose against his countrymen the 
bands he was able to levy by the promises of 
free plunder, and whom he himself called more 
devilish than Tartars. 

The Austrian Ministers could not hope to crush 
Rakoczi with Heister's 12,000 soldiers and Palffy's 
undisciplined levies. The leading idea embodied 
in the instructions which the former received from 
the Board of War was that he should protect the 
Austrian territory, and chiefly Vienna, from further 
raids ; that for this purpose he should in co- 
operation with Palffy drive the kurucz troops back 
to the left banks of the Danube, and that for 
the rest he should frame his operations with regard 
to the results of the pending peace negotiations. 
It took Heister two months to set his troops in 
motion,^ but when he opened his campaign, he 

1 In fact he only started after Karolyi had again appeared before Vienna 
and burned the Emperor's castle at Ebersdorf. 


did so on his own plan of extinguishing the rebellion 
by fire and sword. 

Reluctantly the Emperor had accepted the medi- 
ation of his English and Dutch allies, but he would 
not hear of their or any foreign power's guarantee 
for the arrangements to be concluded with his 
Hungarian subjects. The allies themselves were 
fully aware of the delicacy of the demand and the 
difficulty of bringing it to any tangible issue. But 
they had offered, or rather obtruded, their mediation 
for their own aims and not for those of the 
Hungarians or the Emperor's, and they did not 
intend to let it be foiled because of a word. Step- 
ney, who on his return from leave had stopped at 
The Hague, discussed the subject with the Grand 
Pensioner Heinsius, and pointed to its two inherent 
impossibilities, viz. to give to the Hungarians an 
effective security and not to wound " the Emperor's 
self-love and dignity. Heinsius answered that the 
point had already been raised by Bruyninx, but that 
there was nothing to do but to go on, that the 
commissioners should act as circumstances would 
permit, and as far as might be agreeable to both sides. 
Many diplomatic negotiations before and since have 
been carried on on the same lines. 

At Vienna the Emperor's innermost council — 
Harrach, Prince Eugen, Mansfeld, Kaunitz, and 
Buccellini — held two conferences at which Bruyninx 
and Whitworth assisted and the questions of the 
guarantee, of how to approach Rakoczi, and of an 


armistice were discussed. For the Austrians the 
latter was the most urgent need of the hour, and 
to obtain it they would have willingly made a show 
of concession on the other points. They all agreed 
that King Josephs guarantee was the only one 
compatible with the Emperor's interests and dignity, 
and that it ought to be sufficient ; but rather than 
lose a kingdom for the sake of a word, some ex- 
pedient like the seconding or enforcing of his royal 
word by the allies might be admitted. As for 
Rakoczi, it would be best not to enter as yet into 
correspondence with him ; but if it could not be 
avoided, the mediators as foreigners might address 
him by his princely title. Eugen remarked that if 
peace was made the Emperor would without doubt 
confirm the same, and Kaunitz^ said that it might 
have saved a lot of trouble if it had been acknow- 
ledged before. 

It remained to be seen whether Rakoczi would 
accept the mediation of the Emperor's allies. 
When in his instructions to Bercsenyi he had in- 
sisted on a foreign guarantee he had pointed to 
Sweden, Poland, Prussia, and Venice as the powers 
he would prefer for the purpose. But as to his 
ultimate intentions the Court in Vienna and the medi- 
ators felt as much in the dark as to the nature and 
conditions of the required guarantee. In order to 

^ Dominik Andrek Kaunitz (bora 1655) concluded the alliance with Sobieski 
in 1683, and was then made count. He concluded also the Peace of Ryswyck 
1697, and became one of the most influential members of Leopold I.'s council 
during the last years of the reign. He was a man of conciliatory views. 


get some light on these points and a tangible ground 
for further negotiations, the Imperial Ministers 
suggested that Bruyninx should pay a confidential 
visit to Bercsenyi. The hope to renew with better 
success the former attempts to win over the general 
entered without a doubt into this step, for Bruyninx 
was charged with the most friendly messages from 
King Joseph, and Prince Eugen told him not to 
spare his offers of titles, money, or lands if he saw 
an opening. 

Bruyninx set out on his journey with rather 
sanguine expectations. On the 6th of March he 
wrote to Whitworth from Pozsony that Stepney, who 
was then expected in Vienna, should make haste to 
join him, as there was honour to be won. But four 
days later, after having seen the Hungarian general, 
he wrote again that Stepney might just as well wait 
for his return in Vienna, as for the present there 
was nothing to be done. He had met with a most 
courteous, or as he himself termed it, a magnificent 
reception, but he had advanced no further with 
Bercsenyi than the Palatine's emissaries before him. 
Inaccessible to any offers of personal advantages, 
firmly rooted in his convictions, and conscious of his 
power, the Hungarian leader spoke freely on the 
situation, and gave to the Dutch diplomatist a lecture 
on Hungary's constitutional rights and the long list 
of her grievances. He insisted that the Hungarians 
had as good a right to struggle for their national 
freedom and to seek alliances for the purpose as 


the Dutch had had against Philip II., and that the 
present movement was not sedition or rebellion, 
but an uprising of the whole nation, who had no 
faith in Austrian promises, and would not lay their 
arms down without an international guarantee. When 
asked about the nature of this demand, he replied 
that it was for those who desired an accommodation 
to make propositions, and for the other side to 
examine them. He concluded by referring Bruyninx 
to the impending meeting at Gyongyos, and invited 
him to address his further overtures to Rakoczi in 
beseeming form. 

Bruyninx returned without having formed an 
opinion on the final aims of the Hungarian leaders. 
In all the towns and villages which he had passed 
on his way to and from Sempte the people had 
decorated their houses with white flags and, in their 
absence, with pocket-handkerchiefs. They seemed 
to him well disposed for peace. The Protestants 
had shown to him marked sympathy, as they ex- 
pected better results for their cause from English 
and Dutch mediation than from an alliance with 
France and Bavaria. But the decision rested with 
the leaders, and about their ultimate aims Bercsenyi 
had told him nothing. What he had heard was 
merely rumour. Some thought that King Joseph 
might be re-elected, others that a new king, perhaps 
Rakoczi himself, would be chosen. 

Immediately after his interview with Bruyninx, 
Bercsenyi started for Gyongyos, where Rakoczi 


arrived about the 20th of March. Archbishop 
Szechenyi was already there, so were bishops 
Thelekessy, Pyber, and a large number of nobles 
and deputations from counties, also the envoys of 
France, Bavaria, Poland, and Turkey, the two former 
exerting themselves to confirm the Hungarians in 
their disposition for war. 

The conference ended on the 28th without any 
result. Rakoczi would not accept the mediation 
or guarantee of King Joseph, but insisted on his 
original demand for a formal international security. 
He repeated that he would prefer that of Sweden 
and Poland, but declared himself willing to accept 
the mediation of England and Holland, provided 
their plenipotentiaries received new letters in proper 

In reality there was very little sincerity in these 
negotiations on either side.^ The Austrian Court 

1 The starting-point of both sides was already separated by a wide gulf, 
which hardly permitted them ever to come together. Again and again Rakoczi 
and Bercsenyi had insisted that they and their adherents were not rebels, but 
the representatives of a free people fighting for their rights, and wanting to 
secure them by an international agreement. In the eyes of the Austrians the 
Hungarians were nothing but rebels, to be treated with leniency or rigour as 
circumstances might require, but whose pretensions could not be acknowledged 
without the destruction of the fundamental order of things. The Austrian 
point of view is clearly expressed in a letter of Emperor Leopold to Count 
Wratislaw (then in London) of April i6, 1704. "Through the assistance 
of the Almighty, things have begun to change in Hungary, but the ministers 
of the sea Powers have gone a little too far, viz. that everything they have 
asked ought to be granted and conceded to the rebels. I am inclined to 
believe that this comes only from too great a zeal and desire to see the fire 
extinguished ; but it is impossible that I should consent to propositions which 
inspire everybody who hears them with horror and aversion, as that they, 
the rebels, are to be regarded in the treaty as a free people, and that a n,ew 
royal election ought to take place without regard to the one which was 
held a few years ago with such solemnity. In this entirely inadmissible way 
the prerogative and quality of hereditary succession, which has been estab- 
lished in the kingdom for so long a time, would be destroyed. I tell you 


had consented to mediation, which it hated, in 
the hope that either a direct accommodation, or the 
success of its arms would spare the necessity of its 
employment. The Hungarian leaders had declared 
themselves as not averse to an honourable agree- 
ment, but had refused to specify their terms, and 
from the outset insisted on a condition which was 
as humiliating to the Emperor as practically value- 
less to themselves. Nothing characterizes better 
the temper prevailing on both sides than a chance 
remark of Stepney in April. In the powers which 
he had originally received from London for his 
mediation, Rakoczi and his party had been styled 
the Emperor's subjects, now in arms against him. 
Stepney, having feared that in this form they 
might not be acceptable to the kurucz chiefs, had 
received a second commission, in which they were 
called patriots and confederates. The question 
arose whether these terms would not be offensive 
to the Imperialists, and whether they should not 
again be modified. But he remarked that either 

all this in order that the sea Powers should not receive the impression that I 
do not wish to arrive at a compromise or agreement, which on the contrary 
I have always desired, if only it will be founded in equity and not in the 
destruction of royal authority." 

And on October 4, 1704 : "On my part I would fain have gotten out 
of the Hungarian affair long ago, but these turbulent people demand such 
insolent and audacious things, have also such ways and manners to promote 
their ends, that it is impossible blindly to assent to them. About these 
circumstances I charge you accurately to inform Marlborough, and to assure 
him that I will willingly do all which is possible to facilitate this work, but 
Stepney has always shown too much passion in the matter. While I really 
cannot say what cause he has had, I can say that at certain times and 
occasions he has gone and been carried so far in his expostulations, that it 
almost seemed as if he would instigate the rebels instead of appeasing them." 
— Hof- tind Staatsarchiv Vienna : Weisungen nach England, 


the first or the second commission would do ; for 
should Heister, who had just finished the first 
campaign, continue to be successful, the original 
powers will be good enough for the Hungarians, 
whereas if the Emperor's troops met with a check, 
his Ministers will have to be satisfied with the 
second letters. 

The question of the foreign guarantee was not 
the only one on which there was a wide gulf 
between the two contending sides. Again and 
again it had been stated to Szechenyi at Gyongyos 
that the Parliament of Pozsony, which had estab- 
lished hereditary succession to the crown, was not 
a free and legal one, that its resolutions were 
invalid, and that King Joseph had no right to the 
throne unless he was legally re-elected. Although 
Rakoczi had refused to commit himself to any 
binding terms, Szechenyi had been able to send 
XXV. Articles to Vienna, which he had gathered 
in his conversations, as representing the consensus 
of the leaders, and on which he thought that peace 
might be concluded. They contained, besides the 
Anglo - Dutch mediation and the guarantee of 
Sweden and Poland, the annulment of the sentence 
against Rakoczi, the conferring of all offices and 
dignities in the kingdom on Hungarians, the resi- 
dence of the King in the country, the restoration 
of the right of election to the throne and of armed 
resistance, and some vague hints at arrangements 
necessary to satisfy the Transylvanians. 


There was evidently no compromise possible on 
these latter points. The deliverance of Hungary 
from the Turks, the reconquest of Transylvania, 
and the establishment of hereditary succession 
were the real great achievements of Leopold's 
reign, and nothing but utter defeat could make him 
give them up. 



Heister's campaigns and barren victories — Forgach's mission and 
defection — Rakoczi's election in Transylvania — The battle of 
Hochstadt (Blenheim) and its effect on Hungary — Armistice 
and first formal conference at Selmecz — Spring to autumn 

The spring campaign of 1704 opened disastrously 
for the kurucz cause. The operations were begun 
by Palffy, who, with his Croatian levies, had crossed 
the river Drava on March 9, and in a few days 
reconquered the country between that river and 
the Mur from the kurucz forces. In the meanwhile 
Hannibal Heister, the Marshal's brother, and 
General Rabatta were pressing, with two frontier 
regiments and some Styrian levies, to the east, 
and Colonel Herberstein marching with Servian 
levies from Slavonia north. The Marshal himself, 
with about 5000 regular troops, set out from Eben- 
furth, on the Austrian frontier, to attack Karolyi's 
camp in Kis-Marton. Numerically the latter's troops 
were superior to all of his adversaries ; in quality 
they were more than a match for any but the Field- 
Marshal's regulars. But they were scattered over 

a wide country and not available for a well-devised 



tactical blow. Some were lying before the for- 
tresses of Buda, Esztergom, and Gyor, others 
dislocated from Kittsee in the north to the Mur 
and Drava in the south. Karolyi himself was 
away on a raid before Vienna on the very day when 
Heister attacked him. It is true that he burned 
the Emperor's castle at Ebersdorf and caused a 
repetition of the panic of last Christmas within the 
walls of the Imperial city, but when he returned 
towards his headquarters he found that his lieu- 
tenants Loczy and Benko had been routed by 
Heister, that their retreat had degenerated into 
a flight, and that his army was disbanding, the 
local levies returning to their homes, and his own 
Tibiscians hastening as fast as their horses could 
carry them towards their native region in the east. 
He had ridden with them in their hurried flight 
from Neszider to Magyar Ovar, from Leben Szent 
Miklos to Papa, where he succeeded in bringing them 
to a temporary stop, and where he held a review 
over what remained. They were only his own 
original troops with whom he had come in January. 
All the Trans- Danubians who had so eagerly 
thronged round him a few months before had dis- 
appeared, nobody knew whither. Loud were the 
denunciations of treason, great the hurry to bring 
the captured booty into safety across the Tibiscus. 
There was no stopping the disheartened bands, and 
in spite of Rakoczi's urgent encouragements and 
admonitions, in spite of his own mortification, 


Karolyi saw no other way of saving his remaining 
troops than to continue their retreat and lead them 
himself back across the Danube. 

Heister had pursued Karolyi as far as Gyor. 
When a few days later he appeared before Papa, 
the fort opened its doors as it had done to Karolyi 
three months before. Giving its command again to 
Antal Esterhazy, the Field- Marshal turned south 
towards Szekes Fehervar, where he encountered 
and beat a kurucz force of about 5000 under Daniel 
Esterhazy, and then took the town. Herberstein 
had, with his Servians, already reconquered Pecs. 
The success seemed complete. Two days after his 
entrance into Szekes Fehervar, Heister sent his 
son to Vienna to bring the news of his victory, and 
to announce the pacification of the whole region on 
the right bank of the Danube. 

But Heister's conquests were even more hollow 
than those of Karolyi. Had he known how to deal 
with the people it might have been different. They 
had so far made no pleasant experiences by their 
adherence to the kurucz cause. Karolyi had dis- 
trusted them, his troops had ransacked them. 
The want of understanding and cohesion between 
liberators and liberated had been a main cause of 
Heister's easy success. But the man who had 
come to re-establish the reign of order and legality 
had the idea that this could be done by terror 
alone. Heister hated Hungarians, he found fault 
with the Emperor's patent of amnesty because it 


did not order a general disarmament, and he openly- 
declared his opinion that the Hungarians ought to 
be ruled by fear and not with mildness. He 
slighted and bullied nobles and men of influence, he 
thwarted and offended Archbishop Szechenyi, whose 
endeavours for the cause of peace were in his 
eyes rank treason. The soldiers' actions took 
their colouring from the Marshal's opinions. The 
excesses committed by the kurucz troops when 
they had taken Pecs were bad enough, but when 
Herberstein retook it his Servians behaved against 
the inhabitants in a way which made the Austrian 
Colonel, Count Huyn, exclaim that during his 
fifty years of military service against Turks and 
rebels he had never seen such devilries. And 
Palffy's Croatians were, if possible, worse, sparing 
neither women nor children, committing unspeak- 
able cruelties. It was soon to become clear, if not 
to Heister, then to his masters in Vienna, that a 
pacification effected by such means could only last 
as long as the terror was present. 

Hitherto Rakoczi had taken no active share in 
the open campaign. After the surrender of Tokaj 
he had established his Court for the winter in 
Miskolcz, from where he could conveniently hold 
the central threads of all affairs in his hands, and at 
the same time keep the German garrisons of Kassa, 
Szendro, and Eger in check. At the beginning of 
March he had begun to invest the latter place, 
and thither he returned after the conference of 


Gyongyos. Learning of Karolyi's disaster, he now 
resolved to take the field in person, to cross the 
Danube, and by his own appearance in that region 
to inspire his scattered partisans with courage for a 
new rising. But Heister's operations, Bercsenyi's 
letters, and most of all the temper of his troops, 
made him change his plans. 

When still in Gyongyos Rakoczi was surprised 
by the arrival of Count Simon Forgach, the 
Imperial General who had commanded the labancz 
troops at Zolyom. A courtier and a soldier, a wit 
and an author, Forgach seemed neither by his 
antecedents nor by his predilections destined to 
become a kurucz. He came of an old and powerful 
family who ' had always stood well at Court ; his 
father had been Judex Curiae,"^ his grandfather 
Palatine, he himself had been brought up at Court, 
and had been a playmate of the heir to the 
crown. At the age of eighteen he had entered 
the Imperial army, and rapidly advanced to the 
grade of lieutenant-colonel. At the outbreak of the 
Spanish War he had raised a regiment of his 
own, and had been made a brigadier-general. His 
labancz feelings, which he accentuated even by 
his outward appearance, seemed proof against all 
temptation ; and so fully was he trusted in Vienna 
that, at the outbreak of the Hungarian troubles, he 
was recalled from the Empire and employed against 

1 The office of Judex Curiae was the highest judicial dignity in Hungary. 
It can be compared with the office of Lord Chancellor and of Lord Chief Justice 
in England. 



his kurucz countrymen. He even was one of the 
serious candidates for the office of Banus of Croatia, 
and no doubt felt hurt when, on Prince Eugen's 
recommendation, it was given, not to him, but to 
Palffy. But he did not desert the Imperial cause 
then, and even a month later had asked his cousin 
Bercsenyi for the restitution of the decree bearing 
his nomination as Imperial General, which had 
fallen into kurucz hands at Solyom. Now he 
suddenly rode out from a banquet in Vienna into 
the nearest kurucz camp, and then continued his 
journey until he found Rakoczi, to whom he offered 
his allegiance. When he appeared in Gyongyos in 
German uniform, clean shaved, he looked much more 
like an envoy from Court than a fellow-kurucz, and 
rumours arose at once that he had come on a 
mission. But he denied them, and told Rakoczi 
that he had found himself suspected in Vienna, his 
servants had been arrested, he feared a similar fate 
for himself, and that anyhow he loathed Germans 
and their rule to the bottom of his soul, and had 
come to join the cause of his countrymen. 

The last part of his story was true, but his 
denials were not. Forgach had to flee from no 
suspicion or persecution, and the current opinion in 
both camps that he had come with the consent of 
the Court, and was the bearer of a message, was 
right.^ Many years afterwards, in their dismal exile 

1 "With regard to my cousin Forgach, I hear they have neither pursued 
nor persecuted him. The arrest of his servants is only a pretext. They 
expect him back ; they have taken nothing of his belongings, his brother 


of Rodosto, he confessed to Rakoczi that he had 
indeed received a mission from King Joseph, 
who was anxious to turn the kurucz leaders from 
their purpose of proceeding to a new election, and 
to persuade them to ask his father to cede the 
Hungarian crown to him in his lifetime. On the 
Prince's question why he had withheld a message 
which he and the nation would have been well 
disposed to entertain, and which might have 
materially altered the course of events, Forgach 
answered that that was just what he feared, and 
that his knowledge and hatred of Austrians was 
such that he wanted no compromise, but the end of 
their rule. 

Whether Forgach's delivery of his message would 
really have changed the course of Hungarian history 
may well be doubted. If Rakoczi and Bercsenyi 
had been inclined to see in Joseph's personality 
the solution of the crisis, opportunities for the 
consideration of such a project had not been wanting. 
That the heir to the crown was dissatisfied with 
the way in which Hungarian affairs had been 
managed was an open secret, and the Prussian Court 
had already directed Rakoczi's attention through his 
envoys Raday and Okolicsanyi to the advisability 
of making use of those sentiments, and of obtaining 

Adam sold them all. The truth is, they keep his servants in Heister's camp, 
and give them their pay in Forgach's name. What is likewise true is that 
the King wished Kery to come to us, he himself told it to my wife, but he did 
not want to do it without the knowledge of the Court. Then the King 
turned to Forgach, who was willing. . . . The object of his mission is to win 
over the Hungarians to the King." — Bercsenyi to Rakoczi, April 28, 1704. 



Joseph's support for their cause. Nor does it 
seem impossible that such a solution might have 
been made acceptable to the old Emperor. He 
himself had offered his son's mediation to the 
nation, and in his official reply to the XXV. 
Articles which the Archbishop had sent from 
Gyongyos, Count Kaunitz expressly stated that 
Emperor Leopold intended to leave the manage- 
ment of Hungarian affairs henceforth to his son. 
It seems also most unlikely that the Archbishop, in 
his many conversations with the Hungarian leaders, 
should not have hinted at the possibility of such 
a solution. But Rakoczi had hitherto turned a 
deaf ear to all these propositions and suggestions, 
and invariably insisted on a guarantee from foreign 
powers. When Forgach arrived in his camp, the 
battle of Blenheim had not been fought, and the 
power of Lewis XIV. was yet unscarred. It does 
not seem likely that any message from King Joseph 
would then have altered his dispositions, unless 
it had been the proposition to put himself at the 
head of the kurucz movement against his own 
father. There is, however, not the slightest indica- 
tion that he intended to go so far, and to revive 
against his father the part which Archduke Mathias 
had played against his brother Rodolphe a hundred 
years before. 

The guilt of Forgach is not lessened by these 
considerations. He accepted an errand of con- 
ciliation, he acted as an agent of strife. He not 


only burnt the bridges for his own return, which 
was his own concern, but he contributed to embitter 
the King's feelings against the nation from whose 
leaders he did not even receive an answer to the 
expression of his friendly feelings. Forgach's only 
excuse lies in the fact that he was actuated by 
no self-seeking motives. He had nothing to gain 
from Rakoczi ; he possessed rank, honour, and 
wealth, and held them securely under the Austrian 
power. He did what he did from love of his 
nation, and still more from hatred of Austrians. 
But that a man like he, brought up at Court, 
grown to manhood in the Imperial army, enjoying 
the favour of the heir to the crown, and living 
in the intimacy of power and influence, should 
have gone away from Vienna with such an undying 
hatred of all that he had experienced, throws a 
strange light on the sentiments prevalent there 
for Hungary and Hungarians. He told Rakoczi 
that his hair stood on end at the remembrance 
of the speeches of the Austrian Ministers, which 
he had heard not once or twice, but continually, 
about the way Hungarians ought to be dealt with. 
Forgach was not an easy person to get on with ; 
of measureless pride and self-love, he was apt to 
take offence, and was continually quarrelling with 
his kurucz brother-generals, Karolyi, Pekry, and, 
most of all, with his cousin Bercsenyi. On a nature 
like his the effect of the many slighting and odious 
remarks against his nation was the more deep 


and lasting as he had to dissemble his resentment, 
and, whatever we may discount from his tales on 
account of personal colouring, their tenor coincides 
but too well with what we know of the sentiments 
of Austrian Ministers in Leopold's reign, from 
Hocher in the sixties to Kollonics and Buccelini 
in the nineties of the seventeenth century. 

Rakoczi appointed Forgach forthwith General 
in the kurucz army, and entrusted him with the 
command of the siege of Eger. About three weeks 
later the new General succeeded in concluding 
with the Imperial Commander a capitulation by 
which the fort was to be surrendered after 
eight months if no succour arrived in the mean- 

Thinking that he had finished with the south, 
Heister turned now north against Bercsenyi, By 
the middle of April he was in Komarom, where 
the Banus was to join him, and from whence the 
operations were to begin. Their first object was 
to drive the kurucz out of the islands of Csallokoz 
(Schlitt), formed by the branches of the Danube, 
and to relieve the besieged fortresses of Ujvar 
and Nyitra. At the same time General Ritschan, 
who had been ordered from Pozsony to take 
command of the troops collected on the Moravian 
frontier, was to march on Bercsenyi from the north, 
while Colonels Viard and Virmont, with the Danish 
General Tramp, were to descend from Pozsony 
by water and land on the islands. The plan 


might have been well conceived if there had been 
troops enough to carry it out, and if Heister's 
generals could have moved with exactness. Palffy 
arrived in Komarom, but with hardly any troops. 
His Croatians had, during their first campaigns, 
filled their bags and carts with plunder, and were 
as anxious to carry it home as ever Karolyi's 
Tibiscians had been. Ritschan's troops were slow 
to assemble, and although he reinforced the fort 
of Trencsenyi and retook the town, he only moved 
south after Heister had gone, and then ran to his 
destruction. In the islands Pekry made a good 
defence. Still Heister succeeded in clearing them 
of the enemy, and, marching into the countries of 
Nyitra and Pozsony, was slowly but surely gaining 

The unfortunate events on the other side of the 
Danube had not been without effect on the morale 
of Bercsenyi's troops. He was resolved to make 
a better stand than Karolyi, but he could not hope 
to match Heister's trained troops in open battle with 
his county levies. Disheartened as they were, it was 
no easy task to keep them together, and he only 
succeeded in doing so by assuring them of speedy 
succour from Rakoczi. Urgently and almost daily 
he implored the Prince to come to the rescue, and 
either by crossing the Danube at Foldvar, as he 
had intended, to force Heister to return south, or 
still better, by advancing to Vacz, condemn him to 
inaction, or threaten his rear if he advanced against 


Bercsenyi.^ In the meanwhile he did what he 
could, organizing new levies, directing operations 
in the Csallokoz, defending one position after the 
other, continually on the move — now in Tyrnau, 
then in Sente, on the Danube or again on the 
Vagh, sending his lieutenants towards Ovar to 
recapture it if possible, then into the White 
Mountains, and even Moravia, at the same time 
continuing the thread of the peace negotiations, and 
informing Rakoczi daily. Never more than in those 
days did Bercsenyi seem, as he was in reality, the 
soul of everything. 

Rakoczi was on his way to the Danube when 

1 "If you cannot cross the Danube, I do not know how we shall be able to 
maintain ourselves. ... If you are strong enough to cross the Danube, you 
may give a turn to things, if not, the enemy will do what he likes. ... By 
Jove, now would be the time for Vacz." — Bercsenyi to Rakoczi, April 14. 

" On my faith I will keep this country for you, if I have the wherewithal. 
... If you can cross the Danube all will be well." — April 15. 

" You ought to come to Vacz, and send only 4000 men across at Foldvar. 
It would re-establish things. . . . If we do not act strenuously we shall be 
crushed." — April 18. 

"I will not lose my head like Karolyi. ... In the name of Christ, I 
beseech you, do not leave everything to fate, but come yourself to the rescue. . . . 
Again you amuse yourself with a fortress. . . . You want to do a favour to 
your troops with the Servians, why not to me ? ... If Palfify has any troops 
he may send them over towards Ujvar, and bring us into such confusion that 
I shall not know what to do. The troops from Lova and the upper country 
will leave me, and I depend upon the mercy of these counties. These tail- 
wagging, clever, university-fed sons of bitches are to be trusted only as times 
go, viz. as long as they can keep themselves and their hope without death 
or battle, but otherwise they will not die for Hungary's, nay, not even for 
heaven's liberty. ... I beseech you leave the Servians and Szeged alone, 
and come, straight to Vacz ; your name alone will keep the Germans, they 
will not come over, and if they do, you will free me. ... If you do not, I 
may either take my leave, or soon present my respects, for I will either perish 
or be driven away. . . ." — April 19. 

"The army and the country were in such confusion I could hardly inspire 
them with pluck again. I have read your letter to them as far as fit, I have 
comforted them, and taken my oath that you were already on the Danube, 
although they to-day believe you are at Vacz, for the news of your march to 
Szeged would have brought this country into despair. . . ." — April 26. 


he received Bercsenyi's appeals. He despatched 
Karolyi, who, in the meanwhile had come to his 
succour with about 4000 troops, but did not judge 
it opportune to go himself and venture his im- 
perfectly armed and inexperienced troops in a 
pitched battle with Heister. His intention was 
to cross the Danube near Solt, but when it came 
to its execution he found that those of his troops 
who came from the country between the Danube 
and Tibiscus were not willing to follow him, as they 
were afraid to put the river between themselves 
and their families and homesteads menaced by the 
Servians. After many consultations with his officers, 
the Prince sent Forgach with a force of likewise 
4000 men across the river, and himself went into 
camp at Solt, from where he superintended and 
covered the building of the bridge he had ordered 
to be constructed. 

Forgach's dispatch, however, sufficed to accom- 
plish the ends desired by Bercsenyi. The fire 
which Heister thought he had extinguished was 
only smouldering, and the experience gained of 
Heister and his troops had intensified the hatred 
of the people against Austrian rule. As soon 
as Forgach arrived they rallied under his banners, 
and the events of January repeated themselves. 
The men who, like Emerich Bezeredy, Adam 
Balogh, and Francis Domokos, had been hiding 
in the forests of Bakony and Farkas waiting 
for better times, as well as those who had 


accepted the amnesty and retired to their estates, 
flocked into his camp. And not only they, 
but also men who had resisted the national 
wave before but did so no longer. Most con- 
spicuous amongst them was Anthony Esterhazy, the 
Palatine's nephew, Nigrellis son-in-law, whom 
Heister had entrusted with the command of Papa, 
and who now opened its doors to his old friend 
and comrade Forgach. Within a few weeks the 
latter found himself at the head of an army of 
25,000 men, crossed the Raab and the Mur, and, 
pushing his outposts to Koszeg and Soprony, 
threatened the Austrian frontier and Vienna itself, 
just like Karolyi two months before. 

Heister had retaken Nagyszombat and advanced 
to Szered when he received the news of these events, 
and with them the orders to return south for the pro- 
tection of the approaches to Vienna. He marched 
back to Komarom, and from there to Szekes 
Fehervar, probably on the receipt of false news 
about Rakoczi having sent skirmishing parties in 
that direction, and perhaps in the hope of meeting 
the Prince himself. Otherwise it would be difficult 
to understand why he should have brought his 
tired troops so far, and to a place where no enemy 
stood. If his advance had been marked by cruelty 
and devastation, it was still worse on his retreat, 
when disappointment and vindictiveness added 
their sting to his natural severity. The town of 
Veszprem fared particularly badly. His soldiers 


plundered, burned, and killed. Even the cathedral 
was looted like any private dwelling, and some of 
the canons were wounded. Archbishop Szechenyi 
complained bitterly to the Emperor about these 
proceedings, while Rakoczi pointed — not without 
some satisfaction — to the contradiction between 
Heister's actions and the Emperor's continued 
assurances of paternal feelings, and added that 
henceforth he would have to insist that all pledges 
should be signed not by the Emperor but by his 
ministers and generals. For the military ends of 
the campaign all these barbarities were absolutely 
worthless, and for its political object self-destroying. 
And while Heister was running a wild goose's chase 
in the south Bercsenyi dealt a crushing blow to 
General Ritschan in the north. 

The Field-Marshal had thought that he would 
make short work with the Trans- Danubian rebels, 
and soon return to finish the campaign against 
Bercsenyi. With this idea he had written to 
Ritschan, who was coming from Skalitz with a 
force of about 3000 regulars and 2000 Moravian 
militia, to occupy the places which he (Heister) 
had taken, and instructed Palffy, whom he had 
sent to Pozsony, to effect a junction with Ritschan. 
But Bercsenyi had learned by some intercepted 
letters that the latter was coming through the 
mountain pass of Jabloncza, and formed the plan 
of trapping him there. For this purpose he sent 
Ocskay with some regiments north to keep a watch 


on Ritschan's movements, and to inform him and 
Karolyi of the moment of his starting. The latter 
was to attack the Austrians at the southern exit, 
while to impede their retreat Slovack levies had 
been posted on the wooded heights. The plan 
succeeded beyond Bercsenyi's most sanguine ex- 
pectations. The Austrians were not only beaten 
but annihilated. Of Ritschan's force only about 
a thousand escaped back into Moravia, the rest 
were killed or captured. So was he himself, and 
with him four field-guns, all his ammunition, his flags 
and standards, his war-chest, and his whole train 
fell into the hands of the victors. Of the prisoners 
a good many took service in the kurucz army. 
Three days later Bercsenyi held a solemn thanks- 
giving service in his camp at Majtheny, and 
Te Deums were likewise sung in the camps of 
Rakoczi and Forgach. 

As great as the joy of the kurucz was the con- 
sternation in Vienna. The Emperor imparted the 
news himself to Prince Eugen,^ who had left to 
take possession of his command in the Empire, 
and urged the advisability of sending some re- 
inforcements from his or the Margrave of Baden's 
troops for Heister. But further evils were in 
store. Ten days after the battle of Szomolyan, 
Karolyi appeared on a new raid before the walls 
of Vienna, burned and pillaged the villages of 

1 Emperor Leopold to Prince Eugen, June 8, 1704. Feldzuge des Prinzen 
Eugen, vol. vi. p. 770. 



Fischamend and Schwochat and the Imperial 
residence in Simmering, and killed the hunting 
panthers kept there, which were a present from 
the Sultan. To add insult to injury he chose for 
this raid the 9th of June, the Emperor's birthday, 
which happened to be his last. 

Gratifying as this excursion was to the feelings, 
as well as the pockets, of Karolyi and his riders, 
Bercsenyi might have put his victory to a better use. 
He had about 24,000 men, whose spirit was elated 
by their recent success. While Rakoczi's army, 
after the detachments he had sent away, was 
smaller, and while he could not rely too much on 
his militia, he had his household troops with him, 
who were real soldiers. If he and Bercsenyi had 
crossed the Danube and joined with Forgach, their 
numerical superiority over Heister ought to have 
enabled them either to deal him a crushing blow 
or to force him to evacuate the country. Bercsenyi 
saw this, and revolving in his mind all the possi- 
bilities of the situation, he wrote to the Prince 
that if he was here the business would soon be 
over. But Rakoczi would not trust all his forces, 
composed of volunteers, badly armed, officered 
mostly by men of their own election, in an open 
engagement against trained regulars. Besides, in 
those very days the question of the Elector's 
advance and their possible junction was to decide 
itself, and his resolutions must have been in- 
fluenced by the wish to husband his power for 


the occasion. Bercsenyi himself saw all sides of 
the problem, and his resolutions in action suffered 
thereby. After Szomolany he first thought of 
marching on Pozsony, but when Heister had 
returned to Komarom he was afraid to leave him in 
his rear, and desisted from his idea. He also thought 
about transferring the seat of the war entirely into 
Moravia, but in the end confined himself to what he 
had done before, viz. to hold the north-west, to 
reduce the fortresses therein, to send skirmishing 
raids across the frontier, and thereby exercise an 
indirect pressure on the Austrian Field-Marshal. 

Bercsenyi had sent Karolyi across the Danube 
to succour Forgach. The raid on Vienna had been 
authorized partly as a sop to the former's wounded 
feelings. Through the rapidity with which he had 
rejoined Rakoczi, and the share he bore in Ritschan's 
defeat, Karolyi had retrieved his headlong flight 
before Heister. He was to retrieve it still more 
in the ensuing campaign. But he was still smarting 
under the reproaches incurred, and when Bercsenyi 
enjoined him to keep henceforth better discipline 
amongst his troops, he answered that the devil only 
could afford to be ashamed of everything, and asked 
whether Bercsenyi's softer ways of dealing with the 
people had prevented them from turning coats as 
soon as Heister and Palf^y had appeared amongst 
them. Bercsenyi then empowered him to pay a 
visit to Austria before joining Forgach, and give 
a free hand to his troops there. 


Whatever were Karolyi's shortcomings, he 
understood the temper of his troops, what he could 
make them do and what not. Not so Forgach, 
who was a theorist and a discipHnarian, and 
who wanted to apply what he had learned in the 
Austrian army to the kurucz rough-riders. He did 
not understand them, and he did not trust them. 
When Heister, who on his third campaign had up 
till now met no enemy save insignificant skirmish- 
ing parties, learned of the new menace to Vienna, 
he returned west and marched towards Gyor. His 
troops were tired out, and Forgach might have 
reasonably hoped to ruin them merely by skirmish- 
ing. But he either allowed himself to be surprised, 
or else he miscalculated the day of Karolyi's arrival, 
for on June 13 he accepted a battle in the open 
at Koronczo, near Gyor. He was beaten, and left 
about 3000 men, twenty-eight flags, and six guns on 
the field. He was not popular amongst his country- 
men ; a few days before the battle he had imprudently 
engaged in an interview with his former friend and 
comrade, Viard,^ and after his defeat all sorts of 
unfounded rumours arose about his being a traitor.^ 

1 Viard had made some notes of the interview, which he communicated 
to Stepney, and which the latter reported to Hedges on June i8, 1704, 
Simonyi, vol. i. p. 312. According to them Viard had merely told Forgach 
that he would have never believed his turning a rebel, and that everybody 
had believed that he had been entrusted with a secret negotiation by the 
King of the Romans. Forgach then declared himself a friend of peace, and 
proposed that Heister should retire his troops during the negotiations for a 
truce to some of the islands formed by the Danube. 

2 Bercsenyi, who was not overfond of his cousin, and had a keen eye for 
his shortcomings, protested indignantly against these accusations, and wrote 
to Rakoczi that by what he had learned Forgach had entirely well disposed 
the battle. 


The victory of Kornczo remained as barren as 
Heister's former achievements. Forgach retired 
to Sarvar, where he was joined by Karolyi, and 
from whence they moved freely in all directions, 
threatening the Austrian frontiers west and re- 
occupying the place which Heister had left south 
and east. Heister himself began to realize that 
Hungary could not be reconquered by one army 
corps flying from one end of the country to the 
other; and partly to cover the approaches to Vienna, 
partly to give his troops a rest and draw reinforce- 
ments, he withdrew to Magyar Ovar on the frontier, 
where he remained during the next two months. 
The only positive result of his victory was to re- 
affirm his own shattered position in Vienna. The 
sterility of his campaigns, the complaints against 
his cruelties, the way he thwarted Szechenyi, and 
the peace negotiations in general and his over- 
bearing demands had tired the court, and his 
deposition, urgently advised by Prince Eugen, 
seemed imminent.^ But he enjoyed the powerful 
protection of the Jesuits, the Lord Chamberlain, 
and the Austrian Chancellor, and now he came to 
Vienna carrying his head higher than ever. He 
demanded full powers for all Hungarian affairs, 
whether for war or peace, exemption from the 
control of the Board of War, jurisdiction over the 
rebels, and the removal of Palffy. Nor did he 
forget his own interests, but repeated his former 

^ Thiel to Prince Eugen, July 21, 1704, Feldzilge, vol. vi. p. 776. 



requests for table money and a donation. Emperor 
Leopold did not accede to all these pretensions, 
but with his usual half-heartedness left Heister in 
his command. 

A few weeks after Forgach's defeat Karolyi was 
fortunate enough to surprise the Austrian General 
Rabatta, who had come to St. Gotthard with a force 
of about 2000 regulars, and to inflict on him as 
crushing a defeat as Ritschan had suffered at 
Szomolyan. The Emperor was indignant, and 
ordered his General to be cashiered and court- 
martialled.^ It was a hard blow for Forgach, who 
had been likewise preparing for the move, and who 
saw himself forestalled by Karolyi, whose mode of 
warfare he despised, and whom he delighted to 
inform of all that was said about the bad discipline 
he kept amongst his troops. They had a row 
together," wrote Bercsenyi, ''but it must be con- 
ceded it was a fine action of Karolyi." 

The Commander-in-Chief spent the summer 
months partly in sitting still and partly in sending 
skirmishing parties across the frontier into Austria 
and Moravia, and partly in pushing the siege of 
the beleaguered fortresses. On July 8 he received 
the surrender of Bajmocz, and on August 26 of 
the more important fortress of Nyitra. He also 
began preparations for the reduction of Ersek 
Ujvar, but the glory of its final taking was left to 
Rakoczi himself. 

1 He was, however, acquitted, and reintegrated into his rank and commission. 


The Prince had spent May and June on the 
banks of the Danube, first at Ordas, then at Solt. 
Towards the end of June he broke up his camp, 
much to the gratification of his troops, and marched 
south-east right into the heart of the Servian 
country. After having pushed his way as far south 
as Titel, at the confluence of the Tibiscus and 
Danube, he returned north and settled down before 
the fort of Szeged. There he fell ill of malaria, 
and, his condition growing worse, ordered Forgach 
to his side and entrusted him with the command of 
the siege. There was no physician far and near, 
and the Prince had to send north to the mining 
towns to get one. Of course he was a German, 
and Rakoczi's faithful followers trembled to see him 
entrusting himself to a stranger of that nation. 
Already there had been two attempts to assassinate 
him,^ and a plot was reported at that time, hatched 
by the Jesuits of Nagyszombat, to remove Bercsenyi 
by poison. But Rakoczi judged that the poison 
already inside his system was sure enough to kill 
him, and his confidence was not misplaced. But 
when he began to recover, the German physician, 
as well as Rakoczi's French surgeon, insisted on a 
change of air, and as the prospects of the siege were 
not hopeful, whereas Szechenyi had communicated 
new propositions for an armistice, he willingly 
obeyed the advice and, raising the siege, repaired 

1 Vide above, page 126. The second attempt is mentioned by Stepney 
in his report to Hedges, May 13, 1704, State Paper Office, Germany, 174, 
No. 119. 


to Gyongyos, whither he had invited the Archbishop 
for a second interview. 

In the meanwhile an attempt of far-reaching and 
fateful influence had happened. On breaking up 
his camp before Szeged, Rakoczi received the news 
that he had been elected Prince of Transylvania. 
This news of course did not come as a surprise, 
as preparations for the event had been begun months 
ago and continued ever since. Confusion reigned 
in Transylvania. The Emperor's authority had 
ceased save in the few places occupied by Rabutin, 
that of Rakoczi was but imperfectly established. 
He had put Steven Thorockay in command of his 
troops, but besides him there were Orlay, Guthy, 
and other old Thokolians who had returned from 
their exile in Turkey at the outbreak of the Hun- 
garian troubles and employed themselves to incite 
an uprising in Transylvania. They took advan- 
tage of Rakoczi's name, but let their troops ride 
rough-shod over the country. The Transylvanian 
nobles at Rakoczi's Court, and most of all Count 
Pekry, insisted that the only way to re-establish 
order was a new election, and urged him to call a 
diet for the purpose. Their representations could 
not fail to strike a sensible cord in his heart. For 
three generations his ancestors had worn the crown 
of Transylvania, and he saw in his own election 
but the restoration of his birthright. Still he was 
aware of the probable consequences, and hesitated. 
Bercsenyi, whom he consulted when the project 


first took a serious shape, feared the consequence of 
his absenting himself from Hungary, and while not 
opposing the convocation of a diet, and praising the 
Transylvanians for their patriotic intentions, raised 
objections, and frankly told the Prince that if he 
left Hungary he might consider it as lost. But 
Pekry, who, after his brave behaviour in the campaign 
against Heister, had at his own desire been sent by 
Bercsenyi to Rakoczi's camp with letters of warm 
praise and recommendation, now basely intrigued 
against his kinsman, and tried to persuade the Prince 
that Bercsenyi was a candidate himself for the 
election. Rakoczi finally issued letters, not exactly 
calling a diet, but enjoining his partisans to respect 
the decisions of the one which was to assemble on 
its own volition at Alba Julia (Gyula Fehervar) on 
the 5th of July. There he was elected, but the 
deputies who brought him the diploma informed 
him that Pekry had prepared them for his non- 
acceptance, and that in this case Tokoli would in- 
fallibly be re-elected. Thus put to the wall — he 
writes in his Memoirs — he accepted. This time he 
did not consult Bercsenyi, but so far paid considera- 
tion to his friend's opinion as to delay his entrance 
into his new principality for a long time. 

That this election would prove an invincible 
obstacle to a peaceful accommodation was at once 
foreseen by Stepney and Bruyninx. The former 
wrote to Marlborough and to Harley^ that the 

1 See his letters of September 7 and 10, Simonyi, vol. i. pp. 419-425. 


Emperor could never consent to the loss of a pro- 
vince of such importance, nor would Rakoczi re- 
nounce his title without an equivalent. The 
accommodation would not have been so difficult 
had the surmise underlying the latter remark been 
true and Rakoczi disposed to consider his title to 
Transylvania an object for barter. The time came 
when equivalents were offered which for wealth and 
lustre nearly equalled, for security of tenure far 
surpassed, his elective principality, but he steadfastly 
refused them, and insisted on a recognition which 
no sovereign of Hungary could voluntarily grant. 
Thus Transylvania became the rock on which all 
peace between him and the House of Austria finally 
foundered, and as the question was needlessly and 
prematurely brought into the main issue, his con- 
nivance with and his acceptance of the election was 
an error in judgment. 

The conference at Gyongyos in March had failed, 
but the attempts to arrive at a peaceful arrange- 
ment were immediately resumed by the Imperial 
Court. Negotiations for the purpose were continued 
during the whole spring and summer, but carried on 
in so half-hearted and contradictory a way that from 
the outset they were doomed to failure. On receiv- 
ing Szechenyi's report in April, the Emperor asked 
him to continue his efforts, to meet the Hungarian 
leaders again, and to obtain their consent to an 
armistice and then to a formal conference for the 
conclusion of peace. The result of these orders 


was a second interview between Rakoczi and the 
Archbishop, which took place in the Httle village of 
Paks on the banks of the Danube about the middle 
of May, and which remained as fruitless as the 
previous one at Gyongyos. The fact was that an 
armistice was not in Rakoczi's interest then, and that 
if he wanted one the conditions brought forward 
by the Austrians made its acceptance impossible. 

Peace was undoubtedly the interest of Hungary 
and the desire of many amongst the leaders as well 
as amongst the rank and file in the kurucz camp. 
Rakoczi was fully aware of this, and had made it 
a principle of policy to entertain any propositions 
making for peace, partly to encourage the timorous 
and wavering amongst his followers, and also to 
win the favour of the Emperor's allies, and to refute 
the accusation spread by the enemy that he was 
making war in the interest of France."^ But for 
peace no common ground had been found as yet, 
and even the XXV. Articles which offered the 
first tangible basis for a negotiation had not been 
presented in Vienna when he met Szechenyi at 
Paks. A mere armistice, however, was clearly not 
in the interest of Rakoczi at a time when he could 
still hope for a junction with the Franco- Bavarian 
allies, and when his acceptance would render him 
suspect in their eyes, leading at the same time 
to the disbanding of his troops, who afterwards 
might not be easily reassembled. 

1 Rakoczi's Memoires, Histoire des Revolutions de Hongrie^ vol. ii. p. 58. 


Already in January Marshal Marcin had written 
to Rakoczi dissuading him from any arrangement 
with the Emperor, and urging him to concerted 
action. It seems that this letter never arrived at 
its destination, for the emissary who carried it was 
caught and hanged in Vienna.^ But other emissaries 
came and went, and while he was still in his camp 
at Solt, Rakoczi received the visit of M. Michel, 
Secretary of the French Embassy at Constantinople, 
who had come to bring him, with the renewed 
assurances of Lewis XIV.'s friendly intentions, the 
news that Turkey was now favourably disposed 
to move to his assistance. The information was 
false or based on a passing inclination instead of 
on a settled resolution, and Rakoczi himself fought 
rather shy of a Turkish alliance. He at once wrote 
to Lewis XIV. that he did not wish to see all the 
forces of the Sultan in Hungary, although he would 
accept an auxiliary corps of 12,000 men in his own 
pay. He added that Bavarian succour would be 
ever so much better, and he proposed at the same 
time that Lewis should order the Governor of 
Naples to send about 4000 troops of infantry to 
one of the Croatian ports. Nothing came of all 
these projects, but the general situation of European 
affairs justified Rakoczi in forming them and in 
rejecting an armistice. 

Of the Emperor's counsellors all save his brother- 

1 Stepney to Harley, July 5, 1704. State Paper Office, Germany, 174, 
No. 179. 


in-law, the Elector Palatine, and the few labancz 
Hungarians who had access to his ears, considered 
parleying and treating with the rebels as at best 
a necessary evil. Their opinions differed as to the 
exigencies of the situation, not as to its nature. 
The reluctance to make concessions and the desire 
to confine them within the narrowest limits were 
manifest at every new turn, and likewise entered 
into the instructions which Szechenyi finally received 
about the armistice. Although Stepney and Bruy- 
ninx had been told that it would be offered on 
the basis of the uti possidetis, the conditions 
actually brought to Paks contained the clause that 
the Austrians might freely refurnish the besieged 
fortresses with provisions, clothes, and money 
during the truce, and that the kurucz troops were 
in the meanwhile to retire to four specified counties 
in the north-east. This demand was afterwards 
modified, and the extent of the country to be 
evacuated limited to the two sides of the Danube, 
but the second terms were no more in harmony 
with the actual state of things than the first. 

While the Emperor had written to the Arch- 
bishop that Heister had been instructed to second 
his efforts for peace, the Marshal continued his 
own course, and paid small attention to such orders. 
The Emperor's letter received a curious illustration 
of this from a reply Heister wrote to Szechenyi, who 
had complained about the difficulties he was throwing 
in his way. The Marshal expressed his astonish- 


ment that the Archbishop should rather fear than 
wish for the progress of the Imperial arms, and 
added that he had no time to answer his letters, 
which contained only threats and bad advice, but 
that he had summoned the people of his (the 
Archbishop's) country to surrender or take the 

On the 20th of June the Court gave its 
answer to the XXV. Articles. It declared that 
the right of the House of Austria to the Crown 
of Hungary established at the price of so much 
German blood must remain sacred and inviolate, 
it offered amnesty and full restitution of honours 
and estates to all implicated in the recent troubles, 
promised respect of the rights of Protestants 
as settled by the last diets of Pozsony and 
Soprony, immediate satisfaction of some desires for 
commerce in wine and salt, relegated all other 
grievances to the next diet, and contained the 
promise that the Emperor should either open it 
in person or send his son, to whom he meant to 
leave hereafter the management of Hungarian 
affairs. The answer was as could be expected, 
and might have offered a fair ground for treating 
had it not been that neither side trusted the good 
faith of the other, and that Rakoczi was resolved 
not to terminate the quarrel without obtaining 
for the future some other guarantees besides 
declarations and assurances from Austria. 

Szechenyi's correspondence with Vienna on one 


side and the Hungarian leaders on the other was 
transmitted by two special deputies, John Visa and 
Paul Okolicsanyi, the former titular Bishop and 
Provost of Kalocsa, belonging to Archbishop Szech- 
enyi's own chapter, the latter a zealous Protestant 
of great influence and standing among his co- 
religionists, who had been arrested shortly after 
Rakoczi's imprisonment and only released in 
February at the beginning of the peace negotiations. 
Since then, and until October, these two gentle- 
men were continually on the road, carrying proposi- 
tions from Vienna to Szechenyi, then to Bercsenyi 
and Rakoczi, and returning with the latter's replies 
over the same route. Negotiations proceeded slowly 
under these circumstances. It was toward the end 
of July, when he was ill in his camp before Szeged, 
that Rakoczi received Szechenyi s letter with the 
Emperor's reply and new propositions for a truce, 
and it was on its receipt that he invited him to a 
third meeting. 

This time Rakoczi was more inclined to consent 
to an armistice. It was on his arrival at Gyongyos, 
about the 20th of August, that he received the 
news of the overwhelming triumph of the Anglo- 
Austrian arms at Hochstadt (Blenheim). Co- 
operation with the Elector's forces had been the 
corner-stone of his hopes when he began the war, 
and now Eugen and Marlborough had made an 
end of it for ever.^ Apart from the altered circum- 

1 Rakoczi's Memoires, Histoire des Revolutions^ vol. ii. p. 58. 


stances abroad, the condition of his own troops 
made a respite desirable. It was harvest time and 
vintage was at the door. Long before he had 
heard of Hochstadt, in fact a week before the great 
battle was fought, he had written to Lewis XIV. 
that he could not undertake anything at this season, 
that his troops were disbanding, that he would be 
obliged to accept a truce, and in fact owed his 
preservation merely to the enemy's ignorance of 
his true condition.^ 

Hochstadt freed the Emperor from a great 
and pressing danger. No such victory had been 
obtained over the French for wellnigh two cen- 
turies, and its glory resounded all over Europe. 
But it left Lewis XIV. 's power unbroken, and it did 
not enable the Emperor to withdraw any troops 
from Italy or the Rhine. It had, therefore, but an 
indirect bearing on Hungarian affairs, and if an 
armistice had been desirable before, it remained so 
now. It was impossible besides that the Emperor's 
Ministers, and if not they, then he himself, should fail to 
see what Stepney saw and presented to Marlborough 
at the time. In a memorandum which he drew up 
for the Duke when visiting him in his camp at 
Cron Weissenburg, he estimated the losses of the 
Imperial treasury by the One Year's War in Hungary 
at 7 million florins, in direct and indirect taxes, 
besides the impoverishment of the frontier provinces 

1 Rakoczi's Instructions pour M. Michel \ Szeged, August 6, 1704; 
Fiedler, vol. ii. p. 449. 


at Dolha, but as there was no enemy in sight, 

and as they could not subsist in the mountains, 

he moved on. Descending into the plains of 

Munkacs he encamped in the town opposite his 

ancestral castle which his mother had defended 

against Caraffa nineteen years ago. Its garrison 

consisted of about 300 men, many of whom had 

married native girls and sympathized with the 

people around them. Others had grown old. 

From all the information he had received Rakoczi 

could reasonably hope that the fort would surrender 

without a fight, but he was surprised by the arrival 

of two squadrons of Montecucoli cuirassiers whom 

Nigrelli had sent back on hearing of the new 

troubles. After a short tussle the regulars easily 

routed the untrained rabble and sent them back 

into the mountains from which they had come. 

But they did not follow, and a few days later 

even let a new force of about 200 horsemen pass 

undisturbed before them on their way to Zawadka, 

where Rakoczi was rallying his levies. There 

the Prince was also joined by Bercsenyi, who had 

come with four squadrons of Polish; dragoons, two 

companies of Roumanians, some money from Bonnac, 

and promises of more. 

The leader of the small band which arrived 

so opportunely at Zawadka was Ladislaus Ocskay 

of sinister fame. He was about sixteen when 

he had an ear cut off by the common hangman ; 

he was barely twenty-eight when he died a 



traitor's death on the executioner's block. Between 
that beginning and ending lay a life of reckless 
adventure, infamy, and crime, but also of daredevil 
deeds and famous exploits. He came of good 
old stock, and was in the Jesuits' college at Tyrnau 
when he heard that the Emperor's officers were 
enlisting recruits for Count Palffy's hussar regiment. 
He threw his books to the wind, joined the colours 
as a private, and was sent to the lower Danube, 
where his regiment was fighting against the Turks. 
There he committed his first misdeed — what it 
was has not come down to posterity — for which 
he lost his ear. Shortly afterwards he killed a 
fellow -soldier of the name of Tisza, whose sister 
by a strange coincidence he was to marry in after 
years, and to escape punishment deserted to the 
Turks, whose faith he adopted, submitting even 
to being circumcised. After the peace of Karlovicz 
he obtained his pardon and re-entered his old 
regiment, with which, after the outbreak of the 
great war, he went to the Rhine. There he dis- 
tinguished himself by his bravery, but, being a 
drunkard and a rowdy, never rose beyond the 
rank of sergeant. Dissatisfied, he deserted to the 
French, where he was well received and made 
lieutenant in the king's Hungarian squadron, but, 
finding the French discipline still more irksome 
than the Austrian, deserted again to the Imperials. 
He did not remain long, but, obtaining a pass- 
port under false pretences, persuaded seven fellow- 


soldiers to flee with him and to return home. On 
their long journey through Southern Germany and 
Austria they were joined by other marauders and 
deserters who, arriving in Hungary, disbanded, and 
preyed on villages and country houses. Ocskay, 
pushing his audacity so far as to show himself 
in his old college town, was met by the lieutenant- 
colonel of his own regiment. Baron Pongracz, arrested, 
and put into irons. But luck was still with him. 
Somehow or other he obtained not only his release, 
but even an Imperial patent to collect the deserters 
who had come with him and bring them back to 
their colours. When on this errand he heard of 
Rakoczi's arrival, and turned his horses' heads to 
the East to offer his allegiance to the prince. The 
men he brought with him were, like himself, free- 
booters and adventurers; some of them had seen 
service under Tokoli, like most of those who came 
under Borbely from the region beyond the Tibiscus, 
which they had made too hot to hold them. But 
there was fighting-stuff in them, and many of them 
rose afterwards to high rank in the Confederate 
army : none so high as Ocskay, neither did any 
other come to such ignominious end. 

Bands were also forming in the country beyond 
the Tibiscus under Andrew Bone and Borbely, 
and their men told Rakoczi that the peasantry 
there were longingly waiting for his arrival. Count 
Stephan Csaky, Bercsenyi's brother-in-law, with 
the levies of the counties of Bereg and Ugocsa 


and 200 German troops, was guarding the passages 
of the river ; but Ocskay routed the small de- 
tachment which Csaky had sent to Tiszabecs, and 
Rakoczi with his army passed the river at Ugrony. 
Thousands flocked now into his camp, where he 
soon had about 8000 men around him. Rumour 
magnified their numbers, and even reported of a 
corps of those formidable Swedes who had been 
doing such wonders in the north. Count Csaky's 
levies dispersed and like himself retired into fortified 
places to watch the tide of events. 

Already when still an exile in Poland Rakoczi 
had issued letters and patents in which he spoke 
like a sovereign prince, giving orders and threatening 
with the consequences of disobedience. Now he 
issued a new manifesto to the county of Szabolcs, 
explaining the reasons for his having taken to arms, 
enjoining clergy and laity, nobles, gentry, and every 
person carrying arms to appear within three days 
in his camp, and either to take service in the 
national cause in person or by deputy, or at least 
to present their allegiance to the same. For any 
injury that befell those who disobeyed they would 
have to thank themselves. 

But as yet the upper classes kept aloof. The 
rabble who devastated their fields and drove away 
their cattle inspired them with small confidence, 
and they did not feel sure that the movement might 
not turn against them as well as against the Ger- 
mans. It was impossible to keep discipline amongst 




such troops as were the early arrivals in Rakoczi's 
camp. He and Bercsenyi did their best, but they 
had no officers, and had to accept as such those 
whom the rank and hie chose : butchers, barbers, 
and tailors. But the absence of any resistance gave 
them time, and with time things improved. 

Their first important success was the occupation 
of Debreczen, where they obtained the financial 
means for the better organization of their forces. 
This large town was the metropolis of the whole 
region beyond the Tibiscus, and always a strong- 
hold of Protestantism. During the last war, General 
Caraffa had been able to extort 480,000 florins 
from it, which proves the wealth of its citizens. 
Since then new injuries — the war contribution of 
1697 and Cardinal Kollonics' expulsion decree 
against the Protestant preachers — had been added to 
the old ones. To a man the citizens of Debreczen 
hated the German rule, and were devoted to the 
national cause. But they were prudent men, and 
so were their leaders, Stephen Dobozy, Judge of the 
town, and George Komaromy, afterwards Vicecomes 
of Bihar and one of the principal actors in the final 
drama at Szathmar. When they heard of Rakoczi s 
approach they allowed old Monay, who had been 
one of Tokoli's captains and was a kurucz to the 
backbone, to distribute the prince's manifestos and 
to enlist volunteers for him. But at the same time 
they sent a deputation to General Nigrelli in Kassa 
and another to Vienna to explain and excuse their 


proceedings — for what were they to do, having 
neither arms nor walls and all their goods and 
chattels in the fields ? 

Here Rakoczi found what he wanted. Bercsenyi 
made a triumphal entry, and in a few days obtained 
not only a voluntary contribution of 24,000 thalers, 
but also 1000 guns, as many swords, 6000 mantles, 
as many kalpecks, besides boots, saddles, and other 
provisions for his troops. From that moment 
Debreczen became what it remained to the end — a 
mainspring of kurucz power. 

At the same time two small fortified places, 
Huszt and Kallo, fell into Rakoczi's power. In 
both the inhabitants persuaded or forced the 
German garrison to surrender. In the former the 
Commander was killed by his mutinous soldiers, in 
the latter there were only forty soldiers, who with 
their Commander, Lieutenant Eckstein, took service 
in the kurucz army. The surrender of these two 
places gave Rakoczi his first pieces of artillery. 

Still more important was a success obtained by 
Bercsenyi against the Servians who were in arms 
against the kurucz rising. These new settlers ^ 
hated the Magyars, and therefore, were devoted to 
the Emperor's cause. All the endeavours and 
proclamations of Rakoczi to win them over by 
promises and threats proved fruitless. They had 
already surprised and severely damaged the auxiliary 
troops which were forming under Bone, and now 

^ See p. 75. 


Bercsenyi retaliated upon them at Olaszi. This 
success set Bone free to join the operations with 
his 7000 men, and forced the German garrison of 
Nagy Varad to remain within their walls. 

Nothing succeeds like success. Every small 
advantage obtained brought to Rakoczi new ad- 
hesions, which were no longer confined to the 
humble classes of his first followers. Already the 
brothers Ilosvay had joined. Now came Baron 
Paul Melith, a large landowner in Szathmar. Since 
the affair at Tiszabecs, Csaky had been quietly 
sitting in the castle of Szathmar. When its Com- 
mander, Count Lowenburg, called upon him to 
reassemble the local militia, he pleaded illness and 
requested Melith to do so in his place. The latter 
consented, placed himself at the head of the gentry, 
and with them rode into Rakoczi's camp to take the 
oath of fealty to the kurucz cause ; so did Paul 
Orosz, who had been colonel in the Imperial army, 
and owned land in three counties ; Janos Papay, 
who had been taken prisoner at Ecsed and after- 
wards became Rakoczi's chief diplomatic agent for 
all affairs with the Porte ; Stephen Buday, who held 
high office in Bihar ; Bercsenyi, Ibranyi, and many 
others. As these and other men of birth and 
breeding came, the democratic character of the 
kurucz army slowly changed. Rakoczi and Bercsenyi 
were only too glad to supply the want of officers from 
their rank, and to make them captains, lieutenant- 
colonels, colonels, and generals. When the kurucz 


army was at the height of its power and success 
Rakoczi had twenty-five generals, eight of whom 
were counts, seven barons, and ten belonged to the 
untitled nobility. Even amongst his brigadiers 
there were only two of plebeian origin, Thomas Esze 
and Orban Czelder. 

In Transylvania there were over 8000 of the 
Emperors best troops, three half-regiments of 
infantry and three of cavalry, commanded by Count 
John de Rabutin,^ one of Leopold's ablest Generals. 
Had he marched with them on Rakoczi's unformed 
army there is but little doubt that the whole 
movement might yet have been crushed. But he 
was under orders to keep a close watch on the 
southern frontier, whence greater danger was feared 
in Vienna than Hungary was thought capable of 
causing. The Porte was still smarting under the 
humiliation of Carlovicz, the Janissaries were 
thirsting for revenge for Salankemen and Zenta, 
and Lewis XIV.'s ambassador, the Marquis de 
Ferriol, was doing his utmost to incite the Sultan 

1 Jean Louis de Bussy Rabutin (born 1642) became a page at the court of 
Mme la Princesse, wife of the Grand Conde in 1664, and seven years later 
was implicated in a drama which led to the lifelong imprisonment of Mme 
la Princesse, Rabutin's flight to Austria, and the condemnation to the galleys 
of the third actor, a lacquey called Nicholas Duval, the mystery of which 
has never been cleared up. In 1905 Messrs. Octave Romberg and 
Fernand Jousselin published a book on the life of Claire Clemence de 
Maille Breze, wife of the Grand Conde, but were not able to add any new 
information to the scanty knowledge we possess of what happened in the 
Hotel Conde in Paris during the night of January 13, 1671. Rabutin escaped 
to Austria where he entered the Imperial service and had a brilliant career. 
In 1683 he became Lieutenant-Colonel, in 1696 General and Governor of 
Transylvania, married a princess of Schleswig-Holstein, and attained the rank 
of Field-Marshal. At the outbreak of the Rakoczi revolution he was Governor 
and Commander-in-Chief of Transylvania. 




and his advisers to action. The Imperial resident, 
supported by his colleagues of England and the 
States General, was working in the opposite direc- 
tion, but when in July an insurrection broke out in 
Constantinople which ended in Sultan Mustapha's 
dethronement and the beheading of his peace-loving 
ministers, the danger of war seemed extremely near. 
Nothing came of it but orders for the pashas of 
Temesvar and Belgrad to show friendly disposi- 
tions to Prince Rakoczi, and let his emissaries buy 
whatever they wanted on Turkish territory. But 
the uncertainty of the Porte's ultimate decisions 
paralysed Rabutin's action, and instead of being 
ordered to march with his whole force into Hungary 
he was only allowed to send a detachment of 
700 cuirassiers, and some national levies under 
Baron Glockelsperg,^ to join, if possible, the 
Montecucoli regiment and observe Rakoczi s further 

Glockelsperg had occupied the small fort of 
Somlyo, but when he learned of the approach of 
a kurucz force of about 4000 men he did not 
wish to expose his troops against such odds, and 
retired with them into the fort of Szathmar. 
Somlyo surrendered, and the national levies as 
w^ell as thirty Imperial soldiers who had been left 
there joined the kurucz cause. 

The fall of Somlyo was followed by the sur- 

1 Baron Glockelsperg had risen from the ranks. His original name was 


render of Nagy Karolyi. Far greater than the 
importance of the place was that of its owner, 
Baron, afterwards Count, Alexander Karolyi, one 
of the wealthiest and most influential Hungarian 
magnates. At the early age of twenty he had 
succeeded his father in the possession of his large 
estates and the Lord- Lieutenancy of the county 
of Szathmar. The father had remained loyal to 
the King in Vienna during the long years of the 
Tokoli rebellion, and the son had grown up in 
the same views and feelings. But neither his 
loyalty nor his commanding position had saved 
him from the vexations and oppressions which 
Hungarians — great and small — had then to suffer 
from the Imperial generals. In 1691 General 
Loffelholz had blackened his character to Louis, 
Margrave of Baden. The Margrave was return- 
ing from Transylvania, and Karolyi had ridden out 
from Ecsed to pay his respects. He was at first 
received with distinction, and rode with the Field- 
Marshal to the walls of Szathmar. There the latter 
found fault with the condition of the fortifications, 
whereupon the Commander, Loffelholz, excused him- 
self with the remissness of the county in furnishing 
the prescribed quota of gratuitous labour. Karolyi 
stood up for his county, and told the Margrave 
that it had redeemed its obligation by payment of 
ready money. What Loffelholz had done with it 
he himself ought to know best. In the eyes of 
the Austrian General such a speech was a manifest 




sign of a rebellious disposition, and Karolyi, find- 
ing himself openly suspected by the Margrave, 
left Szathmar and returned to Ecsed. A year 
later he was kindly received in Vienna by the 
old Emperor and his son. King Joseph, and in 
1696 took part in the conferences in Pozsony and 
Vienna. But in the same year he had another 
conflict with the new Commander of Szathmar, 
Count Auersperg, who had, without previous warn- 
ing, sent a captain with a detachment of soldiers 
to Karolyi for the forcible execution of the new 
contribution. As they had no warrant from the 
King or the Commissary-General, Karolyi not 
only refused to pay but, arming his guards, turned 
the captain ignominiously out of his castle. Thanks 
to Bercsenyi's (who then was sitting on the Com- 
missariat at Eperjes) energetic support, he came 
triumphantly out of this affair, but if men of his 
standing were exposed to such slights and vexa- 
tions from the Imperial commanders it may be 
imagined how lesser people fared. 

After his victory at Dolha, Karolyi went to 
Vienna with the standards he had taken from the 
rebels. He understood the situation of his country, 
and he meant frankly to expose it to the Imperial 
Council, and to obtain redress for the most urgent 
grievances. But he got small thanks for his 
pains. The Austrian Ministers were as yet far 
from attributing much importance to the troubles 
in Hungary, and the ease with which the insur- 


gents had been routed by Karolyi, and Rakoczi 
driven back to Zawadka, confirmed them in their 
opinions. The Emperor praised his and his 
ancestors' fidelity, he saw Prince Eugen, Cardinal 
Kollonics, Count Mansfeld, Kaunitz, in fact every- 
body of consequence, he dined with Palatine Ester- 
hazy, Count Nicholas Palffy, and even Chancellor 
Bucellini, but found no hearing for his propositions. 
The reduction of the war-tax was declared to be 
out of time, the organization of the national militia 
to be the concern of General Gombos and Count 
Kohary, the financial concessions which he had 
asked as a reward for the counties of Szathmar 
and Ugocsa to belong to the competency of the 
Treasury. He could not even obtain an order 
for the return of the prisoners whom he had 
made, and whom Count Lowenburg had forced 
him to surrender. When he insisted he found 
not only his advice slighted, but the reality of his 
services doubted. The Imperial Ministers said 
openly that the flags which he had brought were 
not new ones, sent by the living Rakoczi, but had 
belonged to the Prince's grandfather, and were 
taken from some depot or magazine. 

While Karolyi was receiving snubs in Vienna 
his wife was in a worse situation at home. She 
was as thrifty and as keen in money matters as 
her husband, and now found herself menaced 
with the depredation of their estates. The castle 
of Nagy Karolyi, guarded by moats and walls. 




sufficiently garrisoned and provided with heavy 
guns, might well have withstood the kurucz troops, 
but the open country was in their power. Already 
Melith had called and Bercsenyi written summon- 
ing Baroness Karolyi to surrender the castle, and 
threatening ruin and devastation if she refused. 
The poor lady would fain have turned to the win- 
ning side, but as yet did not know which it would 
be. In her embarrassment she sent Bercsenyi's 
letter to Count Lowenburg, bitterly complaining 
at the same time to Count Csaky about the poor 
reward she was reaping for her husband's services, 
to which neither his office nor his duty had obliged 
him. Still she did not surrender at once, but when 
three weeks later Bercsenyi repeated his summons, 
and offered her the alternative between indemnity 
for the past and security for the future or siege and 
further devastation she decided for the former. 

In Karoly, Rakoczi held a council of war with 
Bercsenyi, Orosz, Buday, MeHth, and Szucs on 
their further operations, when it was decided to 
lay siege to Szathmar, if not in the hope of taking 
the fort, at least to hold its German garrison in 
check. Ocskay and Borbely, who after the affair 
of Tiszabecs had both been made colonels, were 
sent across the Tibiscus to spread the uprising 
into the regions between this river and the Danube 
and the north-west. 

Adherents now came in from all sides. In his 
camp before Szathmar Rakoczi received the homage 


of the Perenyis, two of whom he made colonels, a 
third his aide-de-camp, and a fourth an usher at 
his court. There also arrived Baron Stephan 
Sennyei with his brothers Francis and Pongracz. 
The two latter were named colonels, but Stephan, 
who had held that rank in the Imperial army, was 
made field -marshal lieutenant, and later became 
Rakoczi's Chancellor. 

Both Rakoczi and Bercsenyi nearly came to 
grief before Szathmar, the former through an 
attempt made against his life by an Imperial officer, 
the latter owing to the fall of his horse during a 
confusion which occurred on a night march. The 
Prince escaped from his adventure without any 
injury, but Bercsenyi was severely bruised, and for 
a week or two laid up in the castle of Nagy Karoly. 

Rakoczi lay about a month before Szathmar. 
His troops having neither supplies nor training for 
siege work, he could not take the fort, but he took 
the town, and finding his army greatly increased in 
number, decided to leave Baron Sennyei in com- 
mand of a blockading force, and to join with the 
bulk of his troops the forces of Bercsenyi, whom he 
had already previously despatched towards Tokay, 
whither the regiment of Montecucoli had retired. 
On breaking up his camp he received the news that 
his Colonel Deak, together with Borbely, had taken 
the fort of Szolnok, and utterly routed a strong 
force of Servians, who, under the command of the 
Imperial Colonel Kyba, had come to its rescue. 




In the meantime, the flames had spread far beyond 
the Tibiscus. Ocskay and Borbely had crossed 
the river by the middle of August, the former 
taking to the north-west, the latter to the west. 
Wherever they appeared, new levies flocked to 
their standards, survivors of the Turkish and 
Tokoli's war, soldiers of the former frontier militia, 
who, under the new order of things had sunk into 
the ranks of tax-paying peasants. Nobles and 
squires at first retired into fortified places and 
looked on, but after a longer or shorter show of 
resistance came out and joined. Their heart was 
with Rakoczi, and if fear for the future might make 
them hesitate, care for the present helped them to 
obey its promptings. The kurucz riders were 
masters of the open country, and ransacked the 
fields, pillaged the houses, and levied taxes from 
the tenants of labancz landowners. Already Ordody 
and Almassy had joined in Heves, and Szikszay, 
better known as Onody Deak Janos, in Borsod. Now 
came the lord of Krasznahorka, George Andrassy 
with his brothers, Nicholas, the former friar, and 
Mathew, soon to be followed by Stephan and Paul, 
who all became colonels, three of them later generals, 
in Rakoczi's army. Triumphantly Ocskay pushed 
on through the counties of Hont, Bars, Nograd, 
and Zolyom, into his native county of Nyitra, 
taking small forts, receiving the allegiance of the 
mining towns, Selmecz, Kormocz, and Bela, and pil- 
fering and plundering everywhere. By the middle 


of September he had reached the banks of the river 
Vagh, and taken the strong place of Leva. Had 
he followed up his successes, and the impression 
produced by them, instead of honeymooning at the 
last-mentioned place, there seems small doubt but 
that he might already then have paid the first visit 
to the confines of Vienna, and taken Nyitra, yea 
even Pozsony itself By the end of the month 
there was not a county east or north of the 
Danube where kurucz troops had not made their 
appearance, with the sole exception of Pozsony ; and 
Rakoczi was able to write to Lewis XIV., from 
whom he had just received a subsidy of 93,000 
livres, that the whole country to the Danube was 
in his power, that he had taken five fortresses, and 
was enclosing eight more. The representations he 
had made in Poland to du Heron and Bonnac had 
proved true. 

As towns and forts surrendered, men of standing 
and importance who had taken refuge in them came 
out and swelled the kurucz ranks. With the fall of 
Gacs came Andrew Torok, Adam Gyiirky, Daniel 
Bulyowski, Paul Rhaday, afterwards Chancellor of 
Rakoczi's court, and author of the famous manifesto 
" Recrudescunt." Still dearer to Rakoczi's heart 
was the arrival of Adam Vaj, his former fellow- 
prisoner in Wiener Neustadt, who after the fall of 
Hajnacsko, had retired into Gacs, but now rode 
into the Prince's camp in spite of the bond which 
the Imperial Ministers had made him sign after his 


senyi s arguments and plans were approved by all 
the other generals and also by the French officers. 
They prevailed, and the battle was decided upon. 
It is characteristic of the temper of the two leaders 
that on the morning of the decisive day, when the 
two armies were already in sight and a movement 
of Heister seemed to indicate his intention of avoid- 
ing the engagement, it was Bercsenyi who suggested 
whether it might not be better to fall in with his wishes, 
and Rakoczi who answered that they had not come 
to crack nuts, and who gave the order to attack. 

In numbers, both sides were about equal. Heister 
had started from Diirnkrut after receiving the 
reinforcements he was expecting, and on his march 
had been joined by Herberstein with 4000 men. 
These brought his forces up to wellnigh 20,000,^ 
of whom 83 were squadrons of cavalry. Of artillery 
he had 24 field-guns. Rakoczi had 1 7 regiments of 
cavalry, 15 battalions infantry, and 6 guns. But 
neither cavalry nor infantry were in full numbers, 
the regiments of the former averaging about 800 
and the battalions of the latter 500 men, altogether 
a force from 22,000 to 24,000. 

^ The author of Feldziige des Prinzen Eugen, vol. vi., says that Heister 
started from Diirnkrut with about 7000 infantry and 4000 cavalry, but adds 
that the real numbers cannot be ascertained. But two pages above he puts 
the forces under Heister's immediate command on the march at 12,000 men, 
and there seems to be no reason imaginable why he should have left any of 
them behind. Herberstein's infantry at Pozsony and the two regiments on 
their march from Silesia, all of which took part in the battle of Tyrnau, he 
estimates at 3500 men. If to these are added the labancz troops under 
Nadasdy's command the numbers remain not far below the Hungarian com- 
putation. Kolinovics, a contemporary author, estimates the Imperialists at 
20,000, which tallies exactly with Count Francis Esterhazy's testimony, who 
fought in the battle on the Imperial side. 



Heister's army was composed of professional 
soldiers. There were a few battalions of newly 
levied recruits, and there was some labancz militia 
amongst them, but most of his regiments were 
battle-scarred veterans, his cuirassiers of European 
renown. Rakoczi's troops were volunteers full of 
courage, devotion, and enthusiasm ; but sadly wanting 
in armament, training, and discipline. The lustre 
of the prince's name, the talents of Bercsenyi for 
organization, the accession of some great nobles, the 
general conditions of things, and the absence of all 
resistance in the beginning had transformed the 
original riots into a great national uprising. The 
constituted bodies of the kingdom, such as they 
existed, counties and towns, had declared for it ; the 
land-owning gentry, which was the backbone of the 
nation, had flocked under its standards. But the 
popular character of the army's main body had 
remained unchanged. The superior officers, 
generals, brigadiers, and colonels were appointed by 
the prince, and he could choose them with a view to 
merit, birth, orinfluence; but the mass of the subaltern, 
and still more the non-commissioned officers, he had 
to accept as he found them, elected by their men, 
being of the same material, having the same habits 
as they and consequently holding but little authority 
over them. These men had voluntarily joined, and 
their temper was to be managed. 

With the exception of a few regiments the troops 
received as yet no regular pay, and lived either on 


the provisions the counties provided for them or on 
plunder. The greatest difficulty was with the 
infantry, as every Hungarian gentleman wanted to 
serve on horseback, it being a common saying in 
the country that to walk on one's legs was fit for 
dogs, but that a gentleman was created to be carried 
by animals. 

Rakoczi and Bercsenyi understood these defects 
fully as well as Forgach and Des Alleurs, but they 
understood also the general conditions and the 
genius of the nation which had created them, and 
knew that the evil could not be remedied at once 
by introducing the military regulations of foreign 
countries or giving to their soldiers regular pay, for 
which, besides, the money would have been lacking. 
Forgach's attempts to apply the Austrian regulations 
to the kurucz army only led to his unpopularity 
amongst his troops and constant embroilments with 
his brother generals, nor were Des Alleurs's en- 
deavours to model the Hungarian Army after the 
French pattern crowned with better success. His 
ignorance of any language but his own made his 
intercourse with Hungarians difficult, his economical 
habits made them think little of him ; while the 
caustic remarks in which he openly indulged were 
spread about, and wounded the people to whom he 
had come on a friendly mission. It is a curious 
fact that Stepney,^ who represented the Emperor s 

1 George Stepney (i 663-1 707) had been British Minister in Vienna from 
1693 to 1695, and a second time 1 702-1 705. For his biography see Dictionary 
of National Biography^ edited by Sidney Lee, vol. liv. His despatches are 


ally in Vienna, became, through his intercourse with 
Rakoczi and Bercsenyi, a warm friend of Hungary 
and Hungarians, while Des Alleurs saw only their 

collected and preserved at the Public Record Office in London, and have 
been published in 1863 by Ernest Symonyi in three volumes. With regard 
to his quarrel with the Austrian Ministers, and notably Count Wratislaw, the 
present author has found some new and hitherto unknown material in the 
Vienna archives. 

As early as January 1704 Wratislaw, then in London, had written to 
Emperor Leopold that under the pretext of religion Stepney was urging the 
intervention of his government, that he (Wratislaw) was doing his best to 
correct these representations, that he had already spoken to Marlborough 
about them, that the Duke did not care much for Stepney, but that England 
had nobody knowing German so well, and could not therefore dispense with 
his services. Similar complaints were repeated in later letters, although 
Wratislaw distinctly stated once that they were founded on suspicion, and 
that he had no facts to substantiate them. Nevertheless, he spoke in the 
same sense at The Hague, and it was from there that Stepney learned the 
Imperial Ministers' censure of his conduct. He resented it bitterly, and being 
a man of high spirits, directly assailed the Imperial Government and wrote to 
Kaunitz to prove the injustice of Wratislaw's aspersions, and to ask that they 
should be disavowed. The unpleasant relations between the two statesmen 
continued, however, and when Stepney arrived in the autumn of 1704, in 
Marlborough's camp at Cron Weissenburg, where Wratislaw also was visiting, 
the latter wrote to Vienna that Stepney had merely come to induce the Duke to 
take the part of the Hungarian rebels, but that the latter had too much common 
sense to do it. . . . Prince Eugen had presented a formal complaint against 
Stepney, but Marlborough persuaded him to withdraw it, and the matter was 
plastered over by a letter from Emperor Leopold to his Minister, Count 
Gallas, in London (February 20, 1705), charging him to declare that the 
Emperor had no grounds for distrusting or being displeased with Stepney, and 
would be pleased to see him continue his services in Vienna. The Emperor 
added, however, that Gallas was not to make use of the latter assurance if 
there was any prospect of the British Government removing Stepney of their 
own free will. 

An impartial perusal of Stepney's correspondence will convince the 
reader that Stepney's real sympathies for the Hungarian cause developed 
later in his personal intercourse with Rakoczi and Bercsenyi. The idea of 
English mediation had not originated in his but in Hedges' head. He had 
opposed it because he foresaw the offence it would give in Vienna (see his 
letter to Stanhope, December 17, 1704, i. 596). When it had been decided 
upon he worked for it with all zeal, and to the satisfaction of his government. 
The friction he had with the Austrian Ministers was the natural outcome of 
the situation. They had accepted the mediation, but hated it, and tried 
to get out of it. In the course of events, as he became acquainted with the 
Hungarian leaders, he got to like them, and it was then that he became a 
warm friend of their cause. 

Stepney was buried in Westminster Abbey, where his monument now 
stands in the south aisle. 


defects, misjudged them, and thus did harm to their 
cause, which was that of his king.^ 

As fortress after fortress had surrendered a great 
many German soldiers and some officers had taken 
service in the kurucz army. Of the latter some, like 
Baron Limprecht and the unfortunate Eckstein, 
remained faithful to the end ; others, like Scharudy 
and Bremer, turned traitors to the new cause at the 
first occasion. It was the treason of the former 
which greatly contributed to the loss of the battle 
of Nagyszombat, and taught Rakoczi his first lesson 
about the small reliance to be placed on deserters. 
He received his last eleven years later, when Captain 
H artel, who had played an important part in the 
surrender of Ersek Ujvar and been rewarded 
by Rakoczi with a lieutenant - colonelcy and the 
gift of an estate, conspired in Poland for his 

1 Ferriol, who was French Ambassador in Constantinople when Des Alleurs 
was in Hungary, writes of him : *'Au lieu flatter les Hongrois et les laisser 
combattre a leur maniere selon I'ancien usage de leurs peres le comte Des 
Alleurs s'obstina a les reduire a une discipline dont ils n'etaient pas capables. 
Ce n'etait pas connaitre les interets du roi et du prince Rakoczi." Still 
more interesting are Bercsenyi's remarks on the subject of discipline. 
" Forgach ought to be entrusted with a universal code for regulated soldiery. 
He knows all about rules and regulations. He often asks me not to oppose 
codified rules, because they are good. I grant it, it is good to command 
those who will obey. . . . But the Hungarians will get tired of it before 
getting accustomed to it. . . . The Hungarian has the soul of a volunteer, 
and will never be nailed down, neither by monthly pay nor by regulations. 
He is ruled by impulse, not by reason. This is bad and ought to be corrected, 
but never without sense. . . . To whatever discipline and order we may try 
to break Hungarians, they will never get accustomed to fight otherwise, they 
will either pursue or run away. Even in King Mathias's days the black 
army was not Hungarian. Hungarian bravery is based on self-confidence, 
and will brook no curb. If pay is only to insure that the troops should not 
disband we must give them toffee too. It is all no use, if they do not win 
they get tired, if they do they want to carry their gains home." 


But if the kurucz forces were lacking in that 
cohesion and endurance which training alone can give, 
they had hitherto shown a formidable power of re- 
cuperation. Heister had already led four campaigns 
against them, he had driven Karolyi in headlong 
flight before him, he had defeated Forgach in open 
battle, he had pushed Bercsenyi back step by step. 
But he had never gained anything but temporary 
possession of the soil his soldiers trod upon ; the 
Hungarians had rallied as quickly as they had 
dispersed, and now at the opening of his fifth 
campaign he had to begin anew, and march from 
Austria into Hungary, just as if he never had been 

The battle of Nagyszombat was fought on a 
short December afternoon. Heister had spent 
Christmas night at Rozsindol, hesitating whether he 
would march on the enemy, whose numbers rumour 
had wildly exaggerated. In the early morning a 
messenger from Scharudy brought him information 
about the true state of things, and he decided in the 
affirmative. His army advanced in four columns, 
two in front, two in the rear ; all the train, ammuni- 
tions, provisions, and baggage between them. 
Bercsenyi had proposed that Rakoczi should occupy 
Nagyszombat with his centre, and the two wings he 
posted on the slight elevation right and left of the 
town ; but Rakoczi observed that this position might 
easily be turned and the Hungarians obliged to give 
battle on a field unfavourable to their cavalry if 


Heister continued his march on Leopoldstadt. He 
decided to descend into the valley before the town 
between the rivers Tirna and Parna. There he 
occupied the centre of the position, with Sennyei, 
Vaj, and Fierville around him ; on his right wing he 
placed Bercsenyi, on his left Anthony Esterhazy. 
Ebeczky and Ocskay had been sent with their 
brigades to Rozsindol to skirt the enemy on his 
march, the first on his left, the latter on his right, 
but owing to his closed formation could do nothing 
but observe and follow him. 

It was one o'clock in the afternoon when the 
Hungarians, who had entered into their lines during 
the forenoon, saw Heister's cuirassiers and dragoons 
appear before the village of Gerencser. Shortly 
afterwards cannonading began on both sides, and 
Ebeczky and Ocskay, leaving the enemy's flanks fell 
into line, the former with Bercsenyi the latter with 
Esterhazy. Heister was marching north-east, which 
made Bercsenyi think that he wished to avoid battle, 
and send the question of hesitation to Rakoczi. 
But on receiving the order to attack he sent Ebeczky 
forward on the Austrian columns. Ilosvay, Onody, 
Somogyi, Sreter, mistaking the signal which was 
meant for Ebeczky only, followed, and riding together 
over Virmont's and Haslinger's infantry, driving 
back Baireuth's dragoons, broke through one of 
Heister's four columns and penetrated to the train. 
There the men gave themselves up to plunder, their 
officers losing control over them. A similar attack. 


with the same result, had taken place on the left 
wing, where Ocskay's, Andrassy's, Goda's, and 
Buday's hussars had likewise broken the enemy's 
lines. On the sight of these developments, Fierville 
ordered his infantry to advance, and Rakoczi's 
French grenadiers, his household regiment, and 
Farkas' county levies attacked with the bayonet. 
Heister, whose rear columns were hampered by the 
train before them, saw the day in danger. Some 
kurucz riders had penetrated to the place where he 
stood, and he was saved from certain death by his 
Hungarian aide-de-camp Count Czobor, who threw 
himself between the Marshal and an attacking kurucz 
hussar and shot the latter dead. But the advance with 
so many regiments with Ebeczky and Oczkay, which 
were meant to keep their lines, had created a gap 
in the Hungarian position, and Heister, seeing the 
weak spot, sent two squadrons of Fels cuirassiers to 
break it in. The ensuing confusion was heightened 
by the defection of Scharudy's 500 Germans, who 
began firing on their kurucz comrades. The move 
of the Fels cuirassiers, with the help of Scharudy's 
treason, decided the day. Rakoczi, who had been 
watching the battle from a hill north-east of the 
town, wanted to come to the rescue and attack the 
cuirassiers with his carabineers, but was forcibly 
prevented by Vaj and Ottlyk, who judged — and 
rightly so — that the national cause was indissolubly 
linked with his life. The moment was lost, the 
left wing cut off from the main army, Ebeczky 's 


plundering hussars surprised and thrown by Cusani 
cuirassiers, while Heister re-established everywhere 
his broken ranks. Rakoczi, seeing the prevailing 
confusion and judging the day lost, gave the signal 
for a general retreat, much to the consternation of 
his yet victorious left wing. 

We have beaten the Germans and confusion 
has beaten us," thus did Bercsenyi comfort Rakoczi 
the day after the battle, dwelling at the same time 
with satisfaction on the bravery displayed by their 
troops. Heister himself bore testimony to the 
splendid charge of Rakoczi's infantry in the centre, 
and the events of the ensuing campaign contributed 
still further to modify his opinions about the fight- 
ing power of the kurucz army.^ The losses of the 
Imperialists were greater than those of the Hun- 
garians. Including the Germans who went over to 
the enemy during or after the battle, the latter lost 
about 1200, whereas the dead and wounded of the 
former numbered about 2000 men. 

The only positive result of Heister's victory 
was the relief of Leopoldstadt. As for anything 
else it was beating the air. The Austrian Field- 
marshal had not been in condition to pursue the 
beaten enemy, and the few days' rest which he had 
been obliged to grant to his troops sufficed for the 
kurucz leaders to rally their scattered forces and put 

1 " With regard to my conversations with Bishop Pyber . . . he says that 
Heister does not think so poorly of us any longer, he now talks of peace him- 
self. He inquired after Selmecz and conceded that it was not our fault." 
— Bercsenyi to Rakoczi, March i8, 1705. 


them again into fighting order. As was their wont, 
the latter had disbanded after the battle, and Berc- 
senyi found himself at Sellye on the river Vagh, 
whither he had retreated, with only about 2000 men 
round him. But on the 29th, already he sent 
skirmishing parties to worry Heister s resting troops 
at Nagyszombat, and three days later General 
Bottyan, whom Rakoczi had ordered up from the 
Danube, marched around the enemy s flanks into 
the White Mountains, where he found many soldiers 
of the kurucz left wing who had been cut off from 
the main body after the turning of the battle, made 
a raid into Moravia, and, avoiding Heister's pursuit, 
arrived safely back to the banks of the Vagh with 
the troops he had rescued and the booty he had 

Rakoczi had retreated first to Kis Tapolcsany, 
and then to Leva behind the river Garam. Here 
he received the news of the capitulation of Szathmar, 
whose commanders, Glockelsperg and Lowenburg, 
had at last surrendered to Forgach after a siege of 
fifteen months. Here he was also joined by Karolyi, 
whose discontent over the blame his campaigns of 
last year had elicited had been increased by the fact 
that the honour of Szathmar's capitulation had been 
given to Forgach and not to him, and by the 
imprisonment of two of his favourite lieutenants. 
But his ill-humour was appeased by the gift of 
two rich estates, Debro and Erdod, and he arrived 
delighted at finding his services so highly valued, 



and secretly, gratified by seeing his views on warfare 
justified by the event of Nagyszombat. 

A few weeks after his defeat Rakoczi saw himself 
not only in safety from the enemy but in a position 
to lay plans for operations on a larger scale than 
before. The defence of the lines of the Vagh was 
entrusted to Bercsenyi, the reconquest of the country 
south and west of the Danube was to be the object 
of Karolyi's and Bottyan's operations. 

About tbe middle of January Heister advanced 
to the river Vagh, but found Bercsenyi occupying 
the other side with such considerable forces that he 
did not care to risk another encounter. The country 
he was in had been occupied by the kurucz army 
during the whole of last year, and was completely 
eaten out. Want of provisions forced the Marshal 
to return to Nagyszombat and the neighbouring 
towns of Bazin, Modor, and St. Gyorgy, which were 
likewise in a pitiable condition.^ The news of 
this retreat three weeks after the victory caused 
deep depression in Vienna, and made Stepney 
write that it was clear that the Emperor could 
never reduce Hungary by force alone. The 
depression grew into consternation when, a fort- 
night later, Karolyi appeared again before the gates 

1 "We are still alive, the few of us who could remain here, but our neigh- 
bours are constantly dying, half of the inhabitants have died. Indeed we are 
out of everything, so that we hardly get our daily bread, our furniture is 
spoiled, our cattle lost, our corn thrown to the winds, our houses ruined, our 
cellars empty, our shops plundered, we have neither hay nor fodder — in one 
word, we are stricken to the ground, every house full of miserable beggars and 
sick Lazarusses." — Bishop Pyber to Stephan Balogh on the state of Nagys- 
zombat, March 13, 1705. 


of Vienna, burning twenty-three villages on his way, 
and taking plunder to the value of about half a 
million of florins. About the same time Ocskay 
made another raid into Moravia, where he visited 
Prince Liechtenstein's estates, and took his horses 
and cattle away. 

Heister did not know which way to turn. He had 
run after Bottyan and missed him, and now pursued 
Karolyi and missed him likewise. By the middle of 
February he transferred his headquarters into the 
island of Csallokoz, where he occupied a more 
central position for observing the enemy, and where 
his exhausted troops could find better accommoda- 
tion. But he had hardly arrived there when he 
learned that Trencseny was sorely pressed by 
Petroczy, and would fall unless relieved. So he 
marched north again, but although he succeeded in 
revictualling the fortress, he did so at the expense of 
the condition of his troops. Bercsenyi, whose army 
again numbered about 22,000, was continually on 
his flanks and on his rear, and Heister's return 
march closely resembled a flight. On his arrival in 
Nagyszombat he evacuated the town which he had 
conquered ten weeks ago, left about 3000 infantry 
in the three smaller mountain towns, brought his 
sick and invalids to Pozsony, and returned with his 
cavalry again into the Csallokoz. 

In the meanwhile Karolyi had set out for the 
reconquest of the Trans- Danubian region. For the 
third time events repeated themselves. As soon as 



he arrived counties and towns returned to Rakoczi's 
allegiance, the kurucz bands, who since last autumn 
had been hiding in the forests of Bakony, rallied 
under his standards ; Bezeredy, Balogh, and others 
who had been fighting under Bottyan on the other 
side of the Danube returned to their native country. 
But it was all of short duration. Karolyi and his 
Trans-Tibiscians had never been able to establish a 
firm hold over the people of this region and to 
organize them for a serious resistance. Since their 
last visit in the preceding autumn they had learned 
nothing and forgotten nothing. The troops com- 
mitted depredations, their leader levied contributions, 
and when the enemy approached their one idea was 
to get out of his reach. In vain did Bercsenyi urge 
Karolyi to hold out, as he was preparing a diversion 
which was sure to recall Heister. Karolyi only 
thought of safety, but was not as fortunate this 
time as he had been before. Heister had crossed 
the Danube with 4000 horsemen, and on March 31 
Karolyi allowed himself to be surprised at Kiliti. 
He was utterly routed, and in such headlong haste 
did he and his rough-riders flee from the enemy 
that on the next day they were already at Kalocsa, 
a distance of 70 miles. 

Bercsenyi had been as good as his word. While 
Heister 's cavalry won easy triumphs in the south 
his infantry perished in the north - west. On 
Karolyi's urgent appeals for help Bercsenyi had 
organized a force under Daniel Esterhazy and sent 


it against the three towns of Modor, Bazin, and St. 
Gyorgy, where Heister had left garrisons of iioo, 
900, and 700 men respectively. These scattered 
troops, exhaused by previous marches and fatigues, 
demoralized by want of provisions and irregular 
pay, in face of overwhelming numbers surrendered 
without an attempt at resistance. Their arms, 
ammunition, and stores fell into the hands of the 
kurucz, they themselves were sent across the 
frontier, and in their defenceless condition many of 
them were slain by the Slovak peasantry. Learning 
of these disasters, and that Bercsenyi was marching 
against his remaining infantry in the Czallokoz, 
Heister returned north with the same break- 
neck haste as Karolyi had fled before, but arrived 
in such condition that he had to rest his horses and 
men during the next weeks under the walls of 
Komarom. There he received the news of his 
recall. His fifth campaign, which had begun with 
the victory of Nagyszombat had ended in the ruin 
of his army. His infantry, with the exception of one 
regiment of recruits and the invalids whom he had 
left in Pozsony, was lost, his cavalry exhausted, and 
the towns which he had taken as the fruit of his 
victory were again in the hands of the enemy. 
Prince Eugen s prediction that Heister would ruin 
one army after the other without ever achieving 
anything had been confirmed by events, and the mea- 
sure which he had recommended was at last taken. 
On April 1 1 Heister was deprived of his command. 


The failure of the campaign and the pressure of 
their allies turned the endeavours of the Imperial 
Council again toward the effectuation of a peaceful 
settlement. Sympathies for Hungary were strong 
in England and Holland in the early part of 1705. 
The diplomatic action of both countries was un- 
doubtedly inspired by selfish motives/ but public 
opinion instinctively sided with a people fighting 
for constitutional liberty against arbitrary power, 
and was still more moved by the idea that the 
cause of Hungary was that of the Protestant 
religion. The Austrian statesmen viewed these 
dispositions with dismay and irritation, but the 
arguments which they used to combat them were 
singularly infelicitous. Count Wratislaw might 
point with some show of plausibility to the fervent 
Catholicism of Rakoczi and his principal generals, 
Bercsenyi, Forgach, and Karolyi, although he 
omitted to mention that Rakoczi's Court was mostly 

^ Godolphin told Count Gallas outright that the Emperor ought to settle 
the Hungarian troubles anyhow, because he would always be able to redress 
matters there afterwards, which was not the case with regard to his interests 
elsewhere. See Count Gallas' reports of September i, 1705, and September 
II. Godolphin said that if the Emperor could not come to an arrangement 
with Hungary it would be better to abandon it altogether, because he could 
always regain it later, whereas the loss and ruin of the Duke of Savoy would 
be irretrievable. Gallas' and Hofmann's correspondence is full of complaints 
about the difficulties of their position owing to the Hungarian affairs. The 
English Government were irritated by the Emperor's hesitation in accepting 
their mediation and the guarantee demanded by the Hungarians. They did 
not believe in his power to bring the Hungarians to submission by force 
alone as long as the war with France lasted, and Gallas had many bitter 
things to hear from Godolphin as well as from Harley and Hedges. It is a 
curious thing that the Imperial Court, which was still too proud to give the 
title of majesty to Queen Anne, .had to submit to this humiliating inter- 
ference in their internal affairs. See Gallas' and Hofmann's despatches of 


composed of Protestants,^ and also distorted the 
true state of things in saying that the Protestants 
did not number more than 5 per cent of the total 
population in Hungary. But when the Imperial 
Minister in London, Count Gallas, tried to per- 
suade the British Government that the Hungarian 
rebellion was only due to the frivolity, obstinacy, 
and malignity of the nation it was evident that it 
was a case either of talking silly nonsense or of 
giving a dog a bad name preparatory to hanging 
him. Unfortunately the conviction was general in 
Austria that it was the inherent wickedness of the 
Hungarians which made them insist on being 
governed according to their own laws, and refuse 
the assimilation with the Emperors hereditary 

On February 26 the House of Commons voted 
an address to Queen Anne requesting her to 
continue her endeavours for the pacification of 
Hungary, to which she replied that she would do so 
with all imaginable earnestness. About the same 
time the States - General conceived the project to 
send special embassies to Vienna^ in order to give 
more weight to their mediation. The English 

1 Adam Vaj, George Ottlyk, Sigismund Janoky, Paul Rhaday, George 
Gerhart, John Papay, John Radvanszky, and John Hellenbach were all 
Protestants, and in all civil affairs had paramount influence, with the single 
exception of Bercsenyi. 

2 They had at first conceived the idea to send a deputation to Vienna 
to petition the Emperor for the transaction. Count Goess, the Imperial 
Minister at The Hague, did all that he could to turn them from this intention, 
but it was only with the Duke of Marlborough's powerful support that he 
succeeded. See the despatches of Goess of December i6 and 24, 1704, in 
the Imperial archives in Vienna. 


Government readily assented to ,the proposition, 
and Lord Paget, who had been one of the 
negotiators at Carlowitz, was at first selected for 
the purpose, but some time later, when the intention 
was actually carried out, it was Lord Sunderland 
who received the commission. 

Count Kaunitz had died in January, and the 
nominal direction of Hungarian affairs had passed 
into the hands of Count Harrach. Unfortunately 
there were always so many opposing influences at 
work in Vienna that the real decisions did not de- 
pend on the formal heads of departments. Seilern's 
instructions for Selmecz had never been communi- 
cated to Kaunitz, but had been drawn up by himself 
with the aid of two Jesuits.^ He was persistently 
opposed to all concessions. In December, when 
Heister had started out to strike, he had declared 
that nothing but arms could decide the quarrel. 
Four weeks later, when the Marshal's retreat from 
the Vagh had damped the hopes in Vienna, he 
maintained that this was still less a proper moment 
for treating, as the Hungarians might attribute any 
new overtures, not to the good-will of the Emperor, 
but to necessity. But peaceful advices prevailed, 
Szechenyi was again requested to renew his efforts, 
and new terms going beyond those of June last 
were offered. Residence of the King of the 
Romans in the country, convocation of Parliament 
in every third year, satisfaction for the excesses 

^ Stepney to Harley, January 24. 



committed by the Imperial troops before the 
present troubles, maintenance of the Hungarian 
Chancellory and other Hungarian institutions, and 
reduction of the price of salt were promised ; the 
question of maintaining foreign garrisons in Hun- 
gary, of the expulsion of the Jesuits, of the in- 
dependence of the Hungarian Treasury from the 
Imperial Board, of trial of Hungarians in Hungary 
alone, and all matters of taxation were referred to 
the diet. The former assurance with regard to 
the administration of justice, codification of laws, 
amnesty, conferring of secular dignities in the 
country on Hungarians only were reaffirmed, the 
omission of Hungarian representatives at the peace 
negotiations of Carlowitz and the object of the 
much - complained - of commissio nec acquistica ex- 
plained or excused. But the hereditary succession 
and the abolition of the right of armed resistance 
were maintained, and not one word was said about 
the foreign guarantee. 

These new overtures reached the Hungarian 
leaders early in March. Shortly before Des Alleurs 
had arrived at Rakoczi's Court in Eger and been 
received in solemn audience. Friendly assurances 
and encouragement he brought in plenty, but not 
the formal alliance which the Prince coveted. But 
even without it the object of his mission corre- 
sponded but too well with the dispositions of the 
man to whom he was sent. He came to dissuade 
from peace one who was bent on aims which could 


be achieved only by war.^ Hitherto fortune had 
been wonderfully kind to Rakoczi. Edward IV. 
after his landing at Ravenspur, or Napoleon after his 
return from Elba had not been carried more trium- 
phantly from exile into supreme power. Well 
might he have pondered over the question whether 
it would last and how it was to end. But the hope 
was strong in him that he could link his fortunes to 
those of France and force the King's hands to a 
treaty which would assure his inclusion in the 
general peace. 

Bercsenyi was less sanguine in his belief in 
French promises and his outlook on the situation. 
The advice he gave Rakoczi at the time shows 
that he would have been inclined to treat on the 
offered basis, and that he appreciated the situation 
justly. He represented to his friend that Des 
Alleurs had only brought words and no realities, 
that it was sound policy to treat for peace when the 
enemy was asking for it, and that half a loaf was 
better than no bread at all.^ But the decision did 

1 Des Alleurs arrived in Eger on March 1 1 after a journey of twenty-nine 
days from Temesvar. Rakoczi received him first privately, and assured him 
at once that he would oppose a conclusion of peace with all means in his 
power. See Des Alleurs's report to Louis XIV. of March 14 in Archives du 
Ministere des Affaires Etrangires in Paris. 

2 Bercsenyi's letters to Rakoczi. March 18 — "I only wonder what this 
famous general has brought, what alliance, what succour." 

March 20 — *' I see the envoy has not come with much. . . . ! I do not 
despair, but, speaking in a natural way, I do not see how we can resist the 
enemy. " 

March 27 — "Do not believe too much in French promises, for I see he 
(Des Alleurs) venit mutare verba, facere figuram, non rem. My dear Lord, 
for you I live, for you I die, but I beseech you, do not let us wait till the 
last extremity. It is better now when they are after us. As on the steps of 


not rest with him, and Rakoczi showed no haste to 
treat. He had to consider the sentiments of his 
adherents, many of whom sincerely wished peace,^ 
but the absence of any declaration in the Imperial 
propositions about the guarantee gave him a ground 
upon which to rally all opinions. In his reply to 
Stepney and Bruyninx he again insisted on the 
acceptance of this demand as an absolute neces- 
sity, and Szechenyi reported that the whole ques- 
tion hinged upon this point, and strongly urged its 

While the Hungarian leaders were deliberating 

a graduated stairway, let us stop now if we can. It will be easier and better 
to climb higher afterwards." 

March 29 — "You can never depend on French assistance; if the Germans 
think otherwise and believe there is more in it, so much the better." 

April II — " With regard to the articles brought by the deputies and your 
reply I answer briefly. . . . Although the articles require no resolution at 
present, it is worthy of consideration that they refer even such points to 
the diet, which by virtue of the cardinal prerogative of the law cannot be put 
into question, as if they were yet to be decided, but on the other hand it is 
good that they have receded from mere generalities and offered an opportunity 
for entering into particulars. With regard to your reply I cannot understand 
the object of the question at the end as to how they wish to make the agree- 
ment, for this we cannot leave to them. Therefore I answer, either we want 
to gain time or a treaty, if the former, your question serves the purpose, if 
the latter, it would be better, while briefly thanking for the mediation, to 
remind them of the guarantee. For although there is in those articles much 
other grave matter for remonstration besides the guarantees, still in order to 
show that you wish to facilitate a treaty, and to clear up the questions through 
the mediators, you had better admit their presentation." It must be said, 
however, that his later behaviour was in flagrant contradiction with these 

1 Karolyi writes : "Let us make peace, for heaven's sake" (Bercsenyi to 
Rakoczi, March 20). Rakoczi told Des Alleurs then that many of his generals 
were in favour of accepting terms if only tolerably advantageous, the gentry 
and the common people were for the continuation of war, the high nobility 
and clergy for the Emperor. 

2 See Rakoczi's letter to Stepney, and Bruyninx's and Szechenyi's letters to 
the Emperor, Baron Scalvinioni, Prince Esterhazy, Count Harrach, and 
Prince Eugen, April 28, the former in Histoire des Rh'olutions^ vol. i. p. 252, 
the latter in Miller's Epistolae^ vol. ii. pp. 148-164. 


on their reply, Emperor Leopold lay mortally ill in 
his Hofburg at Vienna. The people there showed 
the deepest concern and affection for him, and made 
fervent prayers for the continuance of his reign.^ 
On the 5th of May he died. When the news of 
his death reached Bercsenyi he urged Rakoczi to 
convoke a diet for declaring the throne vacant, and 
added : " Providence has created a vacancy. For 
the late King has been lacking in integrity, and 
the clauses referring to iniquity and fraud has 
deprived his successor. Now the way will be open 
for your envoys at every court, we will have plenty 
of wooers for this beautiful woman, the kingdom of 
Hungary." ^ 

The difference of sentiments was in the nature of 
things. The Viennese had known Leopold L from 
personal contact, and to them he had always appeared 
mild and benignant. The Hungarians knew him 
only as a sovereign whose rule had been one 
of oppression, harshness, and strife. About his 
domestic virtues and good intentions there is no 
doubt, but to steer successfully through the com- 
plications and contradictions of the tasks laid upon 
him required a political genius which he did not 

1 Stepney to Harley, April 29, 1705. 

2 Bercsenyi to Rakoczi, May 16, 1705. 


Kurucz's attitude towards the new reign — Fruitless efforts for peace — 
Desultory military operations of the Hungarians — Herbeville's 
campaign in the East — The convention at Szecsen and the con- 
stitution of the Hungarian Confederacy — Battle of Zsibo — The 
Austrians reconquer Transylvania and lose South-Western 

The change on the throne produced no change in 
the poHtical situation. Had redress for the arbitrary 
and oppressive acts of Leopold's reign been indeed 
the sole object of Rakoczi it might have been other- 
wise. For the new King had borne no share in 
these acts, and he certainly ascended the throne with 
the desire to make peace with his Hungarian sub- 
jects. But the struggle had outgrown these pro- 
portions. For Joseph's person Rakoczi had always 
professed regard and veneration, and he now made 
haste to renew the assurances of these feelings.^ 
But behind the King he and the men who were 
with him saw his German surroundings, the aims 
and tendencies of his German advisers, and the 
history of the past hundred years. He judged the 
situation to be in his favour, and was not inclined 
to let his opportunity go by because Joseph had 

1 His letter to Joseph I. shortly after the latter's accession in Lombardy, 
MiMoires pour servir h Vhistoire du XVIIP sihle, vol. iii. p. 607. 



succeeded to Leopold and Prince Salm to Count 

King Joseph had flattered himself with the 
hope of doing away with the foreign mediation and 
coming to a direct agreement with his people. He 
intended to keep his coronation oath and to rule 
according to the constitution. He offered his royal 
word for it, and never having done anything against 
the nation, felt that he had a right to see it accepted. 
By his order the Palatine sent open letters to all the 
counties informing them of the King's intentions, and 
inviting them to lay down their arms. For the 
transmission of these letters Rakoczi had to be 
applied to, as the greater part of the country was in 
his power, but he refused to receive them or the 
envoy who brought them because, owing to Seilern s 
scruples, he had not been addressed with his title 
of Prince. 

The Imperial appeal fell flat. The leaders were 
not disposed to forgo any of their former demands, 
and the nation was as yet with them. Far from 
accepting Joseph's word as a sufficient guarantee, 
the kurucz leaders were not even willing to admit 
his right to the throne without further questions. 
In glaring contrast to his conciliatory advices of 
March, Bercsenyi's first impulse, on Leopold's 
death, was to declare the throne vacant and to 
provide for a regency.^ It does not appear that 

^ "Interregnum et esse et publicari necesse et proficuum putarem." — 
Bercsenyi to Rakoczi, May 12, 1705 ; see also his letter of May 16, Archivw7i 
iv. 132. 


Rakoczi was ready to take up the suggestion, and 
certainly the nation was not as yet prepared to go 
so far. But that the plan which was put into execu- 
tion in 1707 lay nascent in the minds of the leaders 
from the beginning is beyond doubt. In the mean- 
time Bercsenyi told the Palatine's secretary most 
emphatically that the foreign guarantee had been 
from the beginning, and would remain to the end, 
the unalterable condition for entering into a treaty. 

The attempt of a direct settlement failed, and 
the wearisome negotiations through the foreign 
mediators were resumed, but the real arbitrament 
rested with the sword. 

The troops which Heister had left in the Csal- 
lokoz were neither numerous enough nor in condi- 
tion for active operations. Reinforcements had 
been ordered, but it took time before they could 
arrive, and when Count Herbeville, who had been 
appointed in Heister's place, took possession of his 
command he found the state of things as his pre- 
decessor had left it. The Hungarian leaders, there- 
fore, were free to form their own plans. It must be 
owned that they made poor use of their opportunity. 

It might seem on the surface that the most 
obvious plan would have been to attack the enfeebled 
remnants of Heister's army, prevent their reorganiza- 
tion, and eventually follow them into the enemy's 
country. But marching on the enemy had never 
been in kurucz tactics, and the last experience at 
Nagyszombat excluded the idea altogether from 



Rakoczi's mind. On Bercsenyi's proposition the plan 
was adopted of transferring the main seat of war 
from the north-west to the region on the right bank 
of the Danube, which it was supposed would force 
the Austrians either to remain in the defensive, or 
to accept battle according to their enemies choosing. 
All that was done, however, was the attempt to 
construct a bridge over the Lower Danube between 
Ordas and Paks. The task was entrusted to 
General Bottjan, together with the mission to renew 
the efforts for winning the Servians. Had he suc- 
ceeded therein, it would have been worth more than 
the bridge, but although a few of their leaders lent a 
willing ear to his overtures, the mass did not follow, 
and to the end the Servians remained faithful to the 
Austrian cause. 

Bottjan was no luckier with the bridge. While 
he was engaged with his work, Daniel Esterhazy 
had been posted with about 10,000 men to guard 
the construction. But when General Glockelsperg 
arrived to attack him with a force of about the same 
number — of which, however, only 3600 were German 
regulars — he at once retired without a stroke.^ 
Bottjan did his best, but in vain ; he was severely 
wounded, his fort taken, all his labour brought to 

The plan of a Trans- Danubian campaign from 

1 Thus belying Bercsenyi's recommendation that he would sooner fight out 
of turn than run away without rhyme or reason. Des Alleurs is particularly 
bitter in his comments on Daniel Esterhazy. See his letter to Louis XIV. 
of June 27. 


Paks having failed, Rakoczi, after some hesitation, 
abandoned it altogether and moved westward 
towards Vacz to effectuate a junction with Bercsenyi. 
It was the middle of July when the two leaders met, 
bringing their united forces up to about 30,000 men. 
But in the meanwhile the Austrian reinforcements 
had also largely arrived, and the troops in the Csal- 
lokoz numbered upwards of 20,000. The power of 
the offensive lay with them, and the next military 
developments depended not upon what Rakoczi or 
Bercsenyi would plan but upon what Herbeville 
would do. 

The new Austrian commander was not a man of 
great initiative or brilliant talents. He was well 
advanced in years, and owed his appointment mainly 
to the circumstance that the two Generals whom 
Joseph would have best liked to entrust with the 
command in Hungary, Starhemberg, and Rabutin, 
could for the time not be spared, the one from Italy, 
the other from Transylvania. But he obeyed in- 
structions, was amenable to advice, and the plan for 
his campaign was laid out for him in Vienna. The 
Imperial Board of War had come to the conviction 
that a merely defensive campaign on the Austrian 
borders, with occasional blows against Hungarian 
forces, would never suffice to crush the kurucz 
movement, and they had decided to transfer their 
operations at last into the enemy's stronghold in 
Eastern Hungary and Transylvania. There 
Rakoczi had made undisturbed progress since the 


beginning of the war. During the whole year of 

1704 the Imperial Court had not been able to send 
any succour in men to Rabutin and very little money. 
That he had been able to maintain himself at all 
was mainly owing to the two facts that the Saxon 
population of Transylvania was more in sympathy 
with the Imperial than with the kurucz cause, and 
that the forces of the latter, in spite of their numerical 
superiority, were not trained and equipped to reduce 
fortified places otherwise than by famine. But in 

1705 Rabutin held only Hermanstadt, Brasso, and 
Fogaras, and the temper of his troops was sorely tried 
by want and arrears in payment. In the preceding 
summer the garrisons of Bistritz and Hunyad had 
capitulated, and the regiment of Thiirheim in Kovar 
openly mutinied. Now Forgach, to whom Rakoczi, 
after the capitulation of Szathmar, had given the 
command in Transylvania, took Medgyes, Deva, and 
the Pass of Voros Torony. In the vast plains of 
Lower Hungary, on both sides of the Tibiscus, the 
Servians were the sole supporters of the Austrian 
cause. The fortified places of Arad and Nagyvarad 
still held out, but they, especially the latter, were 
sorely pressed, and it was now decided that Herbe- 
ville should bring them relief, and, marching through 
the plains, come to the succour of Rabutin. 

The plan of campaign was formed in May, but 
many circumstances delayed its execution. The 
Danish auxiliaries who were to form part of 
Herbeville's army did not arrive before the middle 


of July. These men had no quarrel with Hungary, 
no more than the Hessians in English pay had 
with the Americans seventy years later. In the 
light of the twentieth century it seems incongruous 
that the Danish Government should have sacrificed 
the bones of its grenadiers in a cause with which it 
had no concern, but the powers that were in those 
days had few scruples in this regard, and the King of 
Denmark being the Emperors ally lent him his 
troops according to their mutual convenience. Then 
it also took time before the money and the provisions 
necessary for the expedition were sent into the 
Csallokoz. Then there was the relief of Lipotvar, 
which was near, and where provisions were again 
beginning to run short. And, finally, there were 
Herbevilles own objections and hesitations. For 
two months Bercsenyi had been anxiously observing 
him, trying to guess whither he would turn, making 
plans with Rakoczi when and where to attack him. 
In July the Hungarian chiefs decided on a diversion, 
and sent Anthony Esterhazy and Ocskay with 
about 8000 men on a new raid into Moravia. 
Herbeville thereupon ordered Glockelsperg back 
from the east into Csallokoz, but these measures 
were disapproved in Vienna and the orders to 
Glockelsperg countermanded. At the beginning of 
August the Imperial commander started at last 
from his island camp to the relief of Lipotvar, taking 
his way straight north through an open pass formed 
by the two branches of the river Vagh. There 


Rakoczi had set a trap for him, and if the execution 
of the Hungarian plan had come up to its conception, 
Herbeville might then and there have met with 
the fate of Ritschan at Szomolyan. But neither 
Bercsenyi, who was to attack the enemy from the 
front, nor Geczy, who was to fall upon him from the 
rear, nor Anthony Esterhazy, who was to resist his 
passage of the Dud Vagh, fulfilled the task which 
was expected from them, and Herbeville carried 
out his purpose in safety. He did not care, however, 
to return by the same dangerous road, and from 
Lipotvar turned west to Nagyszombat. Rakoczi 
followed his march on a parallel line south of him. 
His object was to cut off the Austrian commander 
from his provisions and reserves in the Csallokoz 
or to force an engagement in the open country, 
where his superiority in numbers and his cavalry 
could be put to the best advantage. The two 
armies came in sight of each other at Cziffer, a 
village near Nagyszombat, when Herbeville, as if to 
avoid battle, changed his direction and drew back 
into the hills of the White Mountains. Rakoczi 
would have been well contented to leave him there, 
but his officers thought they knew better, and 
grumbled at his missing his opportunity to pursue 
the fleeing enemy for the sake of what they called 
French rules. He yielded against his better 
judgment and marched on the enemy. An en- 
counter ensued at Pudmericz on August 11, 
wherein the kurucz army was beaten. It was not 


a very important engagement,^ and Herbeville's 
announcement of it as a great victory was severely 
criticized in Vienna. The losses were small on 
either side, the Austrians did not pursue nor the 
kurucz troops disperse as was their wont after a 
defeat. So little were they disorganized or their 
ardour damped that only a week later Rakoczi 
could order a new invasion of Moravia and Lower 
Austria on a greater scale than ever before. But 
his main object was defeated and Herbeville returned 
safely to Csallokoz, from whence he was now to 
start on his Eastern campaign. 

Already, before the battle of Pudmericz, Szirmay, 
coming from Pozsony, had told Rakoczi of the 
Austrian intention to come to Rabutin's succour. 
The Prince thought the idea chimerical, and rather 
believed that Herbeville's next move would be the 
reconquest of Ersek Ujvar. To divert the latter 
therefrom was one of his motives for sending a 
force of 10,000 to 12,000 men into the hereditary 
provinces and entrusting their command to Berc- 

1 Herbeville had marched out of Csallokoz with about 10,000 to 12,000 men, 
Rakoczi's army numbered from 25,000 to 30,000. In his letters to Karolyi and 
Forgach, written immediately after the battle, he gives his losses in dead as 60 
and those of the enemy as 150 men. Herbeville's letter put his own losses 
at 200 and those of the kurucz at 400 men besides 200 prisoners. He tells 
that he has captured four field-guns ; Rakoczi admits having lost two. The 
Austrian accounts are very meagre on the battle, Rakoczi's narration, on which 
Szalay and Thaly have built {Histoire des Revolutions, vol. ii. p. 78-81), not 
very clear. It becomes, however, evident from the latter that the Hungarians 
lost the battle chiefly through the inability of their generals to manoeuvre their 
troops on the hilly and thickly wooded ground. That the kurucz soldiers 
gave a good account of themselves is proved by Palffy's letter to Prince 
Eugen, wherein he says that the insurgents can be considered a rabble no 
longer, and that they have learned the art of war {Feldzuge des Prinz Eugen, 
vol. vii. p. 440). 


senyi, to the latter's utmost disgust. The other 
was inspired by the news coming from Moravia, 
where a mutiny had broken out amongst the local 
militia in Znaim, and where it was hoped that the 
appearance of a considerable Hungarian force 
under a general of renown might lead to a serious 
uprising. Neither of Rakoczi's hopes was fulfilled. 
The mutiny had been quelled before Bercsenyi 
had crossed the frontier, and his inflammatory 
manifestos remained without response. On the 
other hand the Imperial Board of War did not allow 
themselves to be turned from their settled resolution, 
although some of the most influential men in Vienna, 
like Prince Adam Liechtenstein and the Prime 
Minister himself. Prince Salm, complained loudly 
against the abandonment of flourishing provinces near 
by for the sake of Transylvania, which had already 
been considered as lost.^ Nothing resulted from 
this newraid but frightful devastation, and Bercsenyi's 
orders to respect the life and property of the 
inhabitants were no more heeded by his troops than 
were his letters and patents by the Moravians.^ 

1 See Stepney's letter to Harley, August 26, 1705. He attributed the 
decision to General Count Schlick, Commissary General in Herbeville's army. 

2 " I own my soul shudders from this expedition, I take no pleasure in 
the gain," Bercsenyi to Rakoczi, August 18. And on the same day : " I have 
received your letter and am sorry to have incurred your displeasure, but this 
expedition does not suit me. I see nothing to be gained by it. . . . If you 
order it I -wiW even go to Prague if I only knew what for, if there was some- 
body there with whom I could unite. . . . The object of our diversion was 
to turn them away from Ujvar ; this gained, what is the use of drawing the 
enemy on my neck ? 

' ' Against my most stringent orders, soldiers, peasants, tartars, disperse 
like ants over the country. You can see their fires two miles off ; I spoil 
my hands and my legs thrashing and kicking officers and men " (August 21). 


The Danes had arrived, Schlick had finished his 
preparations, and Herbeville started at last with 
19 battalions of infantry, 9 companies of grenadiers, 
and 10 regiments of cavalry, a force of about 16,500 
men. On the 25th of August he was in Komarom, 
on September 3 in Buda. There he found and 
distributed his provisions for the long march, and 
was besides reinforced by about 1200 dragoons and 
2000 to 3000 Servian levies. There he also learned 
the news of Bercsenyi's great raid, and if left to him- 
self would have returned to his former opinion to 
attack the kurucz forces from the north, where his 
presence would have protected the Austrian pro- 
vinces, and where the country offered the means for 
the support of his troops. 

The real difficulties of his task lay not in the 
distance to be traversed, long as it was,^ nor did 
they come from any resistance the kurucz troops 
might offer in open battle. They lay in the nature 
of the country which he had to pass in summer heat. 
The country between the Danube and the Tibiscus 
was then a sandy, dry, and arid plain, where water 
was scarce, where the inhabited places were few and 
far between, and where it was easy for the defender 
to remove all necessaries of life from the grasp of 

" I blush at our incapacity owing to our men's disobedience. . . . 
Yesterday I saw myself thirty fires. . . . They are such damned curs, they 
burn all the rich villages, they do not even plunder." 

All his letters from August 17 to August 31 from this expedition are 
couched in the same tone, vide Thaly, Archivum, vol. viii. pp. 6'j^-6g6. 

1 The whole distance which separated Herbeville in the Csallokoz from 
Rabutin in Hermannstadt was about 300 miles (455 kilometers). 


the invader. The command in this region was 
entrusted to Bottjan, whose orders were to lay the 
country waste before the enemy and to harass him 
by surprises and skirmishes. He could not do him 
much direct harm, having only about 6000 hussars 
under him ; but Herbeville's progress was slow, and 
his troops suffered a great deal from want. He had 
left Buda on September 16, on the 24th he had 
arrived at Nagy Koros, and on the 30th he had 
intended to cross the Tibiscus at Szolnok. But the 
floating bridges, which had been sent down the 
Danube and were to come up the Tibiscus, had not 
arrived. The delay made him change his disposi- 
tions, and he finally crossed the river much farther 
south at Algyo, a little above Szeged, on October 
10. The summer heat was over, but otherwise the 
conditions on the left side of the Tibiscus were the 
same as before. There Karolyi held command. 
His tactics were the same as Bottjan's, but he was 
better seconded by the inhabitants ; for whereas 
Nagy Koros and Kecskemet had disobeyed 
Rakoczi's orders of evacuation, Herbeville's troops 
found even the large town of Debreczen completely 
deserted. But he arrived at last in good order 
before Nagyvarad, easily dispersed the blockading 
force, and revictualled the fortress for nine months. 
On November 3 he resumed his farther march 
towards Transylvania. 

While the Austrians were still pursuing their 
march between the Danube and the Tibiscus, the 



Hungarians had given themselves a political con- 
stitution. Already, at the beginning of July, 
Rakoczi had issued letters calling a national 
assembly to meet at Szecsen, in the county of 
Nograd, on September i. For two years he had 
exercised supreme power, made war and treated for 
peace, without any other title than the one derived 
from the tide of events and the voluntary adherence 
of his countrymen. A diet alone could give formal 
sanction to his authority ; and if hitherto he had 
hesitated to convoke one, it was from fear that its 
meeting might be the signal for the outbreak of 
internal dissensions. 

There were two causes threatening danger in 
this regard. The one was the question of the peace 
negotiations, the other the settlement of the disputes 
between Protestants and Catholics. 

There was a strong current for a peaceful 
agreement with Austria even amongst Rakoczi's 
most faithful adherents. Already in the previous 
autumn, and again in the spring, he had received 
signs of it.^ The events which had happened since — 
the change on the throne, the recall of Heister, the 
barrenness of the kurucz military operations, the 
efforts and intrigues of the Court's emissaries, of 
Szirmay, Visa, and Okolicsanyi — had strengthened 
it. It showed itself in the army. In an impassioned 

1 See pp. 203 and 244 above. In all these months, from May to ' August 
1705, Des Alleurs informed the King that a great part of the nation desired 
peace, and that even all the generals were for it if Transylvania could be 
obtained for Rakoczi. 


harangue addressed to his soldiers in his camp at 
Cyomro, Rakoczi had hurled the most violent 
reproaches against any one who could prefer an 
ignoble peace to further sacrifices.^ It would be a 
bitter blow to him should the nation's representatives 
pronounce in this sense.^ But he felt that by 
hesitating any further to convoke them he would 
only strengthen the arguments of his enemies, who 
accused him of prolonging the war for his own ends.^ 
The disputes between the confessions did not 
spring from any intensity of religious feeling, but 
from material interests, and were of old standing. 
There were ninety churches which, with the land 
and revenues pertaining to them, were, according 
to the Treaty of Linz, to be returned to the 
Protestants. As long as the Austrians ruled in 
Hungary the non-execution of this stipulation was 
one of the many grievances against them. It was 
natural that the Protestants of the northern counties, 
who had been amongst Rakoczi's first supporters, 
should expect satisfaction from him ; and already at 
the first conference at Gyongyos they had come 
forward with their claims.* The question had 
become more acute at the second conference in 
August 1 704, when the deputies of the eleven north- 
western counties insisted stubbornly on their rights, 
and threatened to accept the Emperor's offers if 

1 See the Hungarian original in Szalay, vol. vi. p. 249, and the French 
translation in Histoire des Revolutions^ vol. v. pp. 254-256. 

2 See his letter to Vestes, July 29, 1705, Fiedler, vol. i. pp. 282. 

3 See Histoire des Revolutions^ vol. iii. p. 82. 
* See p. 152 above. 


justice was not done. But the question was not as 
simple as it looked, for in the sixty years which had 
intervened the people of many of those parishes 
had returned to the old faith, and the restitution 
would have involved an injustice on them. Rakoczi 
had to manage both sides and to take into considera- 
tion the feelings of the Pope, who at that time had 
a political quarrel of his own with the Imperial 
Court. With the assistance of his Protestant 
councillors, Vaj and Ottlyk, he had succeeded in 
appeasing the turbulent petitioners, but he had given 
them a formal promise that their demands should 
be laid before the next diet and its decisions carried 

What to expect from the diet and how to manage 
it had been Bercsenyi's constant preoccupation,^ and 
during their journey from Nyitra to Szecsen he had 
endeavoured to come to an understanding with 
Rakoczi about it. But the latter had a firm belief 
in his hold over his countrymen, and declared himself 
resolved to come before the assembly as a plain 
citizen and leave everything to its decision. Events 
proved that they were both right. Rakoczi's faith 
was not deceived, but without a little management 
the diet might have run riot and confusion ensued. 

All Hungary was not, and could not have been, 
represented at Szecsen, neither geographically nor 
socially. The country on the right bank of the 

1 See his letter to Rakoczi of April 22, Archivum R.I. vol. iv. pp. 


Danube was still in Austrian power, the counties in 
the south between the two great rivers were in- 
habited by Servians or traversed by Herbeville, two 
counties in the south-east still belonged to the Turks, 
and Transylvania was a separate country which had 
its own diet. Of the sixty-three counties which con- 
stitute modern Hungary only the twenty-five northern 
ones stretching from the Austrian to the Transylvanian 
frontier sent their deputies to the convention. The 
social classes which held political power in the 
Hungary of the eighteenth century were the clergy, 
the nobility, the gentry, and the inhabitants of the free 
towns. The former still held aloof from the kurucz 
movement. Archbishop Szechenyi was at Szecsen, 
but only as a spectator and as an intermediary for 
peace. Bishop Thelekessy was there, and four 
titular bishops of not much importance, deputies of 
the Jesuits and some other orders, and a large 
number of the lower secular clergy. Of the nobility 
but few had come ; counts there were nine, barons 
twenty-two — amongst the former Bercsenyi, Forgach, 
and three Esterhazys. But of the great families of 
Palffy, Batthyany, Erdody, Kohary, Illeshazy, and 
Kery no representatives had appeared. The bulk of 
those present were gentry whom Rakoczi had sum- 
moned to come in person, and not by deputies, as from 
the diet they would have to march on the enemy. 

In its outward appearance the convention re- 
sembled a medieval gathering of warlike barons and 
knights much more than a modern Parliamentary 


assembly. It was held in the open, under tents ^ and 
under arms. Near Rakoczi s and Bercsenyi's tents 
their grenadiers stood as a bodyguard ; while in 
order to protect the assembly against Herbeville's 
approach, and maybe against itself, a corps had been 
posted not far away, between Vacz and Hatvan. It 
was all very well for Rakoczi to divest himself of all 
authority and step before the convention as a mere 
private individual, but his generals understood it 
otherwise, and did not mean to meet the deputies on 
an equal footing. When, in the course of a debate 
on Protestant revindications, Alexander Platthy, a 
deputy from Thurocz, made a violent speech which 
seemed directed against Bercsenyi, the latter inter- 
rupted him with the question whether he knew to 
whom he was speaking. Platthy, who was not 
deficient in pluck, still did not take up the challenge 
directly, but answered that he was speaking to the 
country, but also that he was doing so in the name 
of all its Protestant citizens. Whereupon Bercsenyi 
fell into a towering rage and cursed him roundly, 
Rakoczi tried to appease them, and Forgach made 

But if there were many who could not come and 
others who did not want to come, the convention, 
such as it was, was a fair representation of the men 
who had stood for the kurucz cause hitherto, and 
meant to hold to it in the future. It may well be 

1 Curiously enough, they had been made by a Viennese artisan. Arch- 
bishop Szechenyi, who shortly before had wanted some white silk, linen, and 
buttons, had written to Visa to bring some from Vienna. 


doubted whether such an assembly of freemen could 
have gathered at the period anywhere else in 
continental Europe, save perhaps in the mountains 
of Switzerland, the council chamber at The Hague, 
or the plains of Poland. 

The main question which the assembly had to 
consider, whether to accept the Emperor's offers or 
to continue the war, did not give rise to any dis- 
sensions. On its opening Rakoczi had an address 
read by Raday^ wherein he gave an account of all 
that had happened, the negotiations pursued hitherto, 
the acceptance of the mediation of England and 
Holland, the letters received from Stepney and 
Bruyninx, and their impending arrival. He con- 
cluded by declaring that he had no wish to take the 
decision upon himself, that he resigned all authority, 
and left the issue in the hands of the convention. 

The next day being Sunday, the members had 
leisure to talk things over amongst themselves. 
On the ensuing morning of Monday the gentry and 
deputies of the counties met alone, and resolved to 
follow the ordinary rules of procedure and constitute 
themselves as a Lower House. They elected John 
Radvanszky, a Protestant, for Speaker, informed 
Rakoczi of their proceedings, and obtained his 
consent But this did not please the clergy nor the 
generals, who saw therein a triumph of sectarian 
faction and a menace to their legitimate influence. 

1 See the journal of the convention published by Thaly in Rakoczi Tar, 
vol. V. pp. 423-448. 


With Bercsenyi as their spokesman they persuaded 
Rakoczi to cancel his agreement. He yielded, and 
explained to the convention that he had assented to 
the resolutions of yesterday in the belief that they 
had been taken by unanimous agreement. As this 
was not the case, he felt bound to declare them 
invalid, exhorted the Estates to agree amongst them- 
selves with regard to their further procedure, and 
left. A row ensued, and a long debate whether the 
assembly was to be considered an ordinary diet or not. 
But Bercsenyi had now obtained the lead ; he was 
far and away the ablest man in the convention, and 
alone knew whither he was driving. He explained 
that without doubt the Estates assembled had all 
the right and power of a regular diet, but as to con- 
forming to its ordinary rules and forms, considerations 
of opportunity were against it. The great dignitaries 
of the realm were not present ; without them a regular 
diet could not be held ; if their places were filled by 
new men it might lead to the estrangement of some 
who in their hearts were for the national cause. A 
regular diet would also have to proceed to the 
election of a king, which was not advisable as long 
as Joseph I. declared himself willing to remedy 
the nation's grievances. Exceptional circumstances 
required exceptional measures ; and, referring to the 
example of the Poles, he proposed that the assembly 
should declare itself a convention and organize a 
Confederacy, with an elected leader, for the re- 
establishment of Hungarian liberty. The proposition 


was accepted, the Hungarian Confederacy sprang 
into being, and Rakoczi was forthwith unanimously- 
elected its prince and leader. 

The birth of the new organization was solemnly- 
celebrated on the 20th of September. Religious 
services were held, prince and people bound them- 
selves by oath in mutual covenant, and Rakoczi was, 
in accordance with ancient custom, triumphantly lifted 
high by Bercsenyi, Forgach, Anthony Esterhazy, 
and Csaky, amidst the shouts and acclamations lof 
the assembled multitude. He returned the courtesy 
by a banquet, which was served at thirty - seven 
tables, and consisted of seventy-two courses, while 
outside the tents oxen were roasted and barrels of 
wine tapped for the camp and its followers. 

The remaining work was finished in short time. 
The convention went even beyond Rakoczi's wishes, 
and wanted to leave not only the direction of the 
military operations, but of all political and financial 
affairs, to him, without any restriction. It was he 
himself who protested against such unlimited 
authority, and suggested the creation of a senate 
of twenty-four members as an advisory body for 
all political, and of an economic council for financial 
matters. The suggestion was followed ; but instead 
of electing the senators, the convention left their 
designation to Rakoczi. 

Discord only raised its head in religious matters, 
but these too were settled at last by a compromise. 
Restitution of property was resolved on the basis 


of the actual creed of the inhabitants of the parishes, 
and the application of the principle left to the trans- 
actions of Rakoczi with the several counties con- 
cerned. Absolute freedom for the exercise of their 
religion was guaranteed to Lutherans and Calvinists, 
under penalties for landowners claiming the right to 
impose their creed on their tenants. A statute was 
passed restricting the Jesuits to certain places, and 
threatening them with banishment altogether if they 
did not sever their connection with their Austrian 

Laws were further resolved on authorizing Rakoczi 
to proceed jointly with the Senate against counties 
recalcitrant or remiss in the national cause, em- 
powering Bercsenyi to exact personal service in the 
army from all nobles and gentry who had stayed 
away from Szecsen without legitimate excuse, and 
branding all who would refuse the oath to the Con- 
federacy as felons and traitors, granting indemnities 
to the victims of the Eperjes tribunal, restoring 
his confiscated estates to Tokoli,^ appointing three 
commissioners for the conclusion of an alliance with 
Transylvania, and authorizing Prince and Senate to 
appoint plenipotentiaries for the impending Peace 

On the 3rd of October the convention closed its 
session with a solemn Te Deum. It cannot be 
denied that its members had acted wisely and well. 
They had compromised their own differences, given 

1 He had died in the meanwhile in Nicomedia, on September 13. 


themselves an organization suited to the circum- 
stances, shown trust and affection for their leader, 
and left the door open for an honourable agree- 
ment with their King. The creative conceptions 
had sprung from the fertile brain of Bercsenyi, but 
their investment with real life was due to the love 
and devotion which all felt for Rakoczi. The 
convention had accepted Bercsenyi's intellectual 
guidance, but chafed under it, and he left Szecsen 
with the sting of wounded ambition. It is true 
that he had been given first rank in the senate 
and appointed chief of the peace and of the Tran- 
sylvanian treaty commission.^ But already he had 
held first rank in the army, and commanded in chief 
wherever he was if Rakoczi was not present. His 
services had far outshone those of everybody else, 
and he might well expect to see their acknowledg- 
ment reflected in his future position. His soldiers 
thought so too, and felt the slight on their general 
as a triumph of the civilian ; element. When he 
returned into their midst they refused to take the 
oath to the Confederacy unless he was appointed 
Rakoczi's lord - lieutenant and eventual successor. 
But he was far too good a kurucz to let personal 
considerations interfere with the success of his 
cause, and appeased the murmurs as quickly as they 
had risen.^ 

1 He did not accept the latter commission, and Barkoczy was chosen in his 

2 " But — I tell you on my faith — to my surprise and beyond any of my 
thoughts they revolted and wanted to renounce the Confederacy because some 
fools after their return home had spoken disparagingly of me and boasted 


From Szecsen, Rakoczi went to Transylvania. 
More than a year had passed since his election, but 
as yet he had not been installed in his princely 
dignity as the laws and customs of the country 
required. The Transylvanian inauguration would 
have formed a fitting sequel to the acclamations 
at Szecsen, but the negotiations with France fur- 
nished a weightier motive for hastening it. Lewis 
XIV. had recognized his election, and raised his sub- 
sidies to 50,000 francs per month shortly after the 
death of Emperor Leopold ; but otherwise he con- 
tinued his policy of "blowing the horn in order to 
excite the pack." To Rakoczi's demands for a formal 
alliance he gave evasive answers. When, in August 
1705, Baron Vetes,^ Rakoczi's agent at the Court 

that now my authority had fallen, that I had nothing more to say, that I was 
a councillor like all others, and that my command as general and my person 
had not even been mentioned. And when I told them that indeed I was 
drawing pay (for the officers had said that they were not serving for copper), 
they only grew more enraged, and attributing these slights to the deputies of 
the counties, declared that they would submit to you and your authority, but 
felt the humiliation of their commander as their own, and would not take the 
oath to the Confederacy. . . . For Heaven's sake, said I, friends, there is no 
slight ; I had wished for nothing, and nothing has been taken away from me. 
I also have taken the oath. Heaven forbid, said they ; but if you do not want 
it, we want it. If his lordship should die, which God forbid, shall they 
appoint some one in his place, whomsoever they choose ? ... At last I said 
that I would rather die than see secession amongst ourselves. I thank you for 
your good intentions, but I would rather you killed me, for nobody will believe 
that this is not my doing. ... Of this I wanted to inform you in submission 
and bitterness, for who does not know my soul will never believe that it was 
not my work, whereas I am ashamed of it," — Bercsenyi to Rakoczi, October 
24, 1705. Archivuniy vol. iv. pp. 711-714. 

^ Ladislas Kokenyesdi de Vetes was the son of a country squire in the 
county of Szathmar, and at the outbreak of the Hungarian Revolution a 
captain in the Imperial army. His colonel's severity, the false news of his 
father's death, and chiefly a scrape into which he got, made him — according to 
his own story — leave the Emperor's service. When he arrived home in the 
autumn of 1704 he found his father not only alive but very much enraged, 
and not knowing which way to turn, offered his services to Rakoczi. The 




of Versailles, had submitted the draught of a 
treaty by which France was to guarantee Transyl- 
vania's independence, Hungary's constitutional 
liberties, and Rakoczi's inclusion into the peace 
finally to be concluded with the Emperor, the 
French Government replied that the King's dignity 
forbade him to treat such matters with an in- 
formal agent, but that Des Alleurs would be 
instructed accordingly. The latter, however, de- 
clared that his King could not in honour conclude 
an alliance with the revolted subjects of another 
sovereign, but that he would treat with Rakoczi as 
Prince of Transylvania after his inauguration/ 
The ceremony had therefore been fixed for the 
autumn, and preparations made for Rakoczi's 
triumphal entry into Koloszvar. But Herbeville's 
progress had upset former combinations, and when 
in October Rakoczi finally went to Transylvania, 
it was not to complete his title by the pomp of 
an inaugural celebration, but to make it good by 
force of arms. 

If the Hungarian leaders had had any doubts as 

Elector of Bavaria had at that time applied for some Hungarian officers for 
the instruction of his regiment of hussars. Vetes solicited and obtained the com- 
mission, was made a Bavarian lieutenant-colonel, but never did any military 
service. With the Elector's consent he was entrusted with Rakoczi's diplo- 
matic negotiations at the French Court, and continued to act in this capacity 
from 1705 to 17 12. After Rakoczi's downfall he quarrelled with him over 
money matters, and after having sued for and obtained his pardon from the 
Imperial Government, betrayed all the documents in his possession relating to 
his former mission into their hands. He died as field-marshal-lieutenant in 
the Imperial service. But if his character was that of a greedy, self-seeking 
adventurer, his political insight was just and clear. 

1 Fiedler, Aktenstucke, vol. i. pp. 22-25, 35-42, 282-289. 


to the final object of the Austrian campaign, they 
had them dispelled by what they learned while still 
at Szecsen. Rakoczi took his measures accordingly. 
He was resolved to take command against Herbe- 
ville in person ; Forgach had been sent in advance 
to finish the entrenchments at the mountain passes, 
where the enemy was expected ; Anthony Ester- 
hazy was to have the command of the infantry, and 
to come with the Prince ; while Karolyi was to follow 
and harass the enemy in his flanks and rear. 

When Rakoczi arrived at the frontier he found 
things in great confusion; Forgach and Pekry openly 
intriguing against each other. Too much weight 
must not be laid on these petty quarrels. Human 
nature is essentially the same the world over ; and if 
the Hungarian leaders envied and spited each other, 
they only did what others have done before and 
since. The heroes of the American Revolution do 
not always present a picture of concord to the out- 
side world, while the war they were waging against 
the rest of Europe did not prevent the leaders of 
the French Revolution from cutting each others 
heads off, besides those of their fellow-citizens and 
generals. Neither did Bercsenyi's, Forgach's, 
Karolyi's, Pekry's, and the minor leaders' mutual 
jealousies and dislikes interfere with their showing 
a united front to the common enemy, nor with their 
unfaltering devotion to their common chief Rakoczi. 
What in the present emergency was a more serious 
matter was that the entrenchments in the mountain 


passes were not finished, although there had been 
plenty of time for the work. 

On the 31st of October Rakoczi had arrived in 
his camp at Magyar Egyregy, in the county of Szilagy, 
where his army numbered about 23,800 men. On 
the 7th of November, Herbeville, after several 
painful marches, arrived with about 20,000 men^ at 
Somlyo, in the same county. The question was by 
which pass he would come through the mountains. 
These run in three parallel ranges from north to 
south, and according to general opinion could only 
be traversed by an army at Karika, or farther north 
at Zsibo. Rakoczi fully expected the enemy to 
come by Karika, which was in his straight line ; but 
the information he received from his spies made 
Herbeville change his dispositions at the last 
moment, and he turned north to Zsibo. Even then 
the advantage remained with the kurucz, for Zsibo is 
only a few hours' distance from Egyregy whereas 
the Austrians had two or three days' marches to 
make. Pekry, Mikes, Teleky, and other Transyl- 
vanians were altogether against defending the pass, 
and advocated either giving battle in the open, 
where their cavalry could be put to use, or retreating 
before the enemy and letting him exhaust himself by 
sickness and fatigue. But Rakoczi had with him Des 
Alleurs and the French engineers who had planned 
the entrenchments and wanted to defend them. He 

1 Their condition is described in a letter of Count Czernin, who was with 
them. " We march trusting to fortune, without bread or anything. The dis- 
eases amongst us are indescribable ; also amongst our horses. " 


decided to fight Herbeville, and placed his troops 
into position at Zsibo, giving, after some compli- 
mentary sparring, the command of the right wing to 
Des Alleurs, and of the left to Forgach ; while 
Karolyi's orders were to attack the enemy from the 

The battle took place on the nth of November. 
Rakoczi was behind his lines at Szurdok, and had 
just finished his dinner when he received the news 
that the enemy's left had come in sight of his right 
wing. He at once mounted his horse, but on his 
way to the front met his soldiers in full flight, and 
shortly afterwards Des Alleurs, who told him that 
everything was over, that Forgach's troops had been 
routed, and he himself obliged to give the order for 
retreat. The Frenchman's story was but too true. 
Herbeville had begun to attack on his left, where 
Des Alleurs' corps at first made a good resistance. 
But in the meanwhile five grenadier companies had 
stormed Forgach's entrenchments, and when the 
Austrian cavalry appeared on the heights the whole 
Hungarian left wing took to flight. Then the centre 
gave way, the right wing followed, and the rout 
became complete. From fifty to sixty colours and 
twenty-eight guns fell into the conqueror's hands. ^ 

Zsibo was a worse defeat than either Nagys- 

1 The accounts of the losses on both sides vary according to the nationality 
of their authors. Herbeville puts the number of kurucz dead at 6000, his own 
at 500. Karolyi, who came to the battlefield shortly after Herbeville had left, 
only counted 400 dead kurucz ; Forgach tells of 700 ; while both put the 
Austrian loss at 1200. The Turkish Pasha of Temesvar reported that the 
Hungarians had lost 4000 dead and 24 guns, the Austrians 1000 dead. 



zombat or Pudmericz. The issue had never hung 
in the balance, there had been no misconception of 
orders, no defection of German auxiharies as at the 
first, no untoward circumstances Hke the dust-storm 
at the second battle. It is true that Karolyi had 
remained inactive, and the Transylvanians were not 
slow in attributing the disaster to him and accusing 
him of treachery. Nor did they judge Forgach 
more leniently,^ while the two Hungarian Generals 
complained not less bitterly of the negligence and 
treasonable lukewarmness of their allies. But in 
reality all these accusations were only the ordinary 
recriminations of a defeated and loosely disciplined 
army. Karolyi had not attacked because Herbe- 
ville had so barricaded his flanks and his rear by 
cars and timber that cavalry (and Karolyi had no 
other troops) could not approach them, and because 
his officers had all been against it. There had been 
errors in judgment and shortcomings in the execu- 
tion, but the battle had been won by the fighting 
superiority of trained professional soldiers over a 
popular army. 

The result of the victory was the reconquest of 
the greater part of Transylvania and the setting 

^ Pekry puts all the blame on him. From Bako in Moldavia, where he 
had taken refuge, he wrote on December 13 to Rakoczi : " Our country 
will indeed have reason to remember the command of Forgach. Once before 
he had lost the country beyond the Danube, now he has ruined us. . . . He 
has spent all his time here drinking, dancing, and in debauchery. ... If 
we do not take to it better we shall never win a country, for we ought not 
only to consider who is who but who will make a true and useful servant. 
But the damnable reason of state and consideration of persons ruins us." — 
Thaly, Bercsenyi, Csallad, vol. iii. p. 472. 



free of Rabutin. From the battlefield Rakoczi had 
retreated east to Szamos Ujvar, but the Austrians 
were after him, and his troops in no condition to 
make another stand. Turning north, he withdrew 
to Hungary, and arrived safely in his own castle of 
Munkacs. Herbeville entered Koloszvar, where he 
went into winter quarters, after having met Rabutin 
and disposed his troops for the occupation of different 
parts of the country. Fear of Rabutin's vengeance 
reigned amongst the inhabitants. About 12,000 of 
them— men, women, and children— followed Rakoczi, 
and found refuge on his estates. Others fled to 
Moldavia, amongst them Pekry and Mikes. 

Herbeville had done all that was expected of 
him. He had traversed Hungary from one end to 
the other, led his army safely through the plains 
and over the mountains, defeated the enemy in 
pitched battle, brought relief to Nagyvarad and 
Rabutin, and reconquered Transylvania. If his 
successes were destined to be transitory and the tide 
was soon to close up behind him, the fault lay not 
with him but with the conception which had been 
formed in Vienna, and which he had faithfully 
executed. If for the Hungarians Zsibo was a 
renewal of the lesson that their volunteers were 
no match for real soldiers in the open field, the 
Austrians were soon to learn again that from 
gaining a battle there was yet a long way to sub- 
jugating a country, and that their new success had 
brought them no nearer to their end. 


While Rakoczi was battling in the east, his 
generals did not remain idle in the west. As soon 
as Herbeville had crossed the Tibiscus, Bercsenyi 
recognized that the moment had come to regain the 
counties beyond the Danube and unite them to 
the Confederacy. This, and to force the remaining 
Austrian troops out of Hungary, became now the 
main objects of all his military conceptions. His 
presence was needed at Nagyszombat, where the 
Peace Conference was soon to open ; besides, the 
daily routine of government lay largely in his hands 
during the absence of Rakoczi. But his heart and 
soul were in the operations beyond the Danube, 
and during all their continuance he never ceased to 
exercise a directing influence on them as well as 
on the organization of the newly acquired counties. 

The task of invading the south-west was con- 
fided to Bottjan. He lay ill at Kecskemet when 
he received the orders in the middle of October 
to leave the further observation of Herbeville to 
Karolyi and to prepare for the new campaign. 
Besides, his troops had dispersed, as usual at this 
season, and he had neither clothing nor money for 
them. But he lost no time, and at once sent some 
of his lieutenants across the river to prepare the 
people for his arrival. On the 30th of October 
one of them succeeded in surprising and taking 
possession of the Austrian entrenchments at 
Foldvar. A few days later he crossed the Danube 
himself, and on November 11, on the day when 


the battle of Zsibo was fought, took the important 
fort of Simonytorna by storm. From thence he 
proceeded north towards Tata and Neszmely to 
meet and co-operate with Bercsenyi. 

The Austrians had only a small force to op- 
pose this new invasion — about 6000 men, all told ; 
but of these only a few were regular soldiers — two 
regiments of cuirassiers, and 800 infantry. The 
rest were frontier troops, Croatian levies, and 
Styrian militia. Palffy, who was in command, had 
to reckon not only with Bottjan's but also with 
Bercsenyi's army, which by the end of October had 
again swollen to 24,000 men. Twice the Imperial 
commander had advanced against Bottjan's lieu- 
tenants, but each time he had returned, fearing the 
fall of Pozsony or an inroad into Moravia. In the 
meantime he saw his ancestral castle of Biebersburg 
(Vorosko) besieged by Ocskay, and, unable to come 
to its assistance, applied through Princess Rakoczi 
to her husband to have it saved from wanton 
destruction. Rakoczi listened to the appeal, and 
gave orders to raise the siege.^ 

Far from discouraging Bercsenyi, the news of 
Zsibo only stirred him to greater exertions. He 
and the people around him had not believed that 
Herbeville would succeed in forcing his entrance 

1 Ocskay had begun the siege on October 5, Rakoczi's counter-orders 
arrived on the 1 9th. He had left Szechen on the 8th, and by Eger, Szerencs, 
and Tokaj had gone towards the Tibiscus, which he crossed at Nyiergyhaza 
on the 15th. His wife's letters with PalfFy's request must have reached him 
on this journey, and his answer reached Bercsenyi in a remarkably short 


into Transylvania,^ and Karolyi's letter announcing 
the defeat, which he received on November 19, 
came as a bitter blow. But in the first letter which 
he wrote to the Prince he assured him that he 
would repay the loan to the enemy with interest,^ 
and his performance was as good as his promise. 
On the 28th he saw Bottjan and concerted with 
him about the measures for completing the conquest 
of the Trans-Danubian region. In the meanwhile 
he kept the news from Transylvania secret, and 
when at last the Imperial Government and the 
world at large learned of Herbeville's victory, the 
country, on the mastery of which the Austrians 
had from the beginning laid the greatest weight, 
had passed completely into kurucz power, and save 
in the fortresses the Emperor had not a battalion 
standing in Western Hungary.^ 

Reinforced by some regiments of Bercsenyi's 
army, Bottjan had continued his advance west and 
taken the fort of Papa. Its commander fell in the 

1 " The campaign in Transylvania naturally formed the subject of daily 
conversation in Nagyszombat, where the mediators were assembled. Arch- 
bishop Szechenyi and Szirmay had vowed that they would shave their 
Hungarian beards if Herbeville succeeded in entering Transylvania" — 
Bercsenyi to Rakoczi, November 7, Archivum R.I. vol. iv. p. 731. 

2 "I will cause such confusion to the Germans, they will estimate it 
higher than Transylvania, if only your person remains safe " (Bercsenyi to 
Rakoczi, November 19, Archivum^ vol. iv. p. 738); and, "I shall take 
out of Austria what they have dragged away from Transylvania." — Bercsenyi 
to Karolyi, November 22, Rakoczi Tar, vol. ii. p. 122. 

3 The first news of Zsibo came to Vienna on December 8 through a 
messenger sent by the Commander of Arad, who had received a report of the 
battle from the Pasha of Temesvar. Herbeville had sent his son-in-law, 
Count Draskovics, to Vienna to announce the victory ; but he only arrived 
there about Christmas, bringing the Marquis de Bellegarde, who was taken 
prisoner in the battle, with him." — Stepney to Harley, December 8 and 23, 
State Paper Office, Germany, pp. 185, 416, and 426. 

278 HUNGARY'S FIGHT chap. 

defence ; of its German garrison about 400 took 
service in the kurucz army. Koszeg, renowned in 
Hungarian history through its successful resistance 
against the mighty Soliman, was stormed by 
Bottjan's lieutenants Bezeredy, Ebeczky, and Kis- 
faludy. Palffy, fearing to leave his basis, had taken 
his position at Magyar Ovar, while Hannibal Heister 
stood with some Croatian levies near the Styrian 
frontier at St. Gotthard. There he was attacked by 
Bezeredy, his troops routed, he himself obliged to 
take refuge in Count Batthiany's castle of Szalonak. 
Palffy retreated across the frontier to Bruck in 
Austria, where Bercsenyi intended to shut him in. 
Soprony alone held out, and on Christmas Eve 
Bottjan laid siege to it ; but neither his bombard- 
ments nor his storming attacks could overcome the 
stubborn resistance of its small garrison and armed 
citizens, and after seventeen days he was obliged to 
abandon the attempt. 

Considering the insufficiency of the Austrian 
forces, Bottjan's campaign may not rank high as a 
military achievement ; but the fact that it had been 
undertaken after the reverses in the east, and the 
way in which it was carried out, surely argues for 
the strength and stubbornness of the national move- 
ment. As for Bottjan himself, he, like Herbeville, 
had done all that was expected of him — yea, even 
more, for he had not only overrun, but won a 
country. Unlike Karolyi, he had gained the hearts 
of its inhabitants and inspired them with confidence. 


He kept strict discipline amongst his troops, forbade 
all looting and plundering, and ordered them to 
treat all inhabitants alike, whether they were 
Hungarian, German, or Croatian, as long as they 
would not oppose the national cause. The counties 
took the oath to the Confederacy, and their levies 
flocked to the kurucz standards, where they were 
mustered into the regular regiment, receiving pay 
and clothing. Henceforth they formed a new and 
powerful addition to Rakoczi's forces, who, on the 
30th December, wrote to Lewis XIV. that by dis- 
pensation of Providence he had lost one country 
but gained another, and with it an increase of 
12,000 men to his army.^ 

^ Fiedler, Aktenstiicke^ band ii. p. 456. * 


Further efforts of England and Holland and the difficulties they 
encounter on both sides — Rakoczi's senate and council at 
Miskolcz — Hungarian finances — The military situation in the 
winter of 1706 — The armistice. 

The peace negotiations had been continued during 
the whole summer and autumn, but the only persons 
who had them seriously at heart were Stepney 
and Bruyninx. 

After the failure of his direct appeal to the 
nation Emperor Joseph had renewed his father's 
acceptance of the Anglo- Dutch mediation. Early 
' in July Rakoczi had likewise accepted it formally. 
But neither side was eager to come to business. 
Rakoczi referred every decision to the impending 
diet of Szecsen, and the Austrian statesmen were 
far more interested in Herbeville's campaign than 
in the messages which they sent or received 
through Szechenyi and the mediators. 

Towards the end of August Lord Sunderland 

and Count Rechteren arrived in Vienna, and from 

the outset augured ill of the success of their 

mission. What they saw in Vienna, as well as 

what they heard from Hungary, convinced them 



that both sides would rather decide their quarrel by 
arms than by treaty.^ The Emperors Ministers 
insisted on a preliminary declaration from the 
Hungarians which should put the heredity of the 
crown and the abolition of King Andrew's Decree 
out of all question. The kurucz leaders retorted 
by asking for a preliminary assurance that no 
infringement of their constitutional rights was 
intended, and that heredity did not mean absolute 
power. Hopeless as these discussions were, the 
irritation and distrust engendered by them were 
augmented by the way in which the proposition 
for an armistice was put forth. 

Still the machinery of the mediation was put 
into motion and, although with rubs and hitches, 
made progress. The Imperial Court declared its 
willingness to hold a new conference, appointed 
Count Wratislaw and Archbishop Szechenyi as 
commissioners, and Nagyszombat (Tyrnavia) as the 
place of meeting. Rakoczi accepted the proposi- 
tion, named a commission of seven members with 
Bercsenyi at their head, and fixed the date of the 
meeting for the 27th of October. If each side 
distrusted the other, if neither believed in the 
result of the conference, both were equally anxious 
to make a show of their conciliatory disposition. 
The Austrians were obliged to do so out of con- 
sideration for their allies, and Rakoczi because he 

1 Ten days after his arrival in Vienna Sunderland asked for his recall. See 
his letter to Harley, September 9. 


understood the temper of his nation, and because 
he wanted to exercise pressure on Lewis XIV. 
There is no doubt that his followers at that time 
were passionately devoted to him, but it is equally 
certain that their majority were in favour of peace, 
if only it could be made sure and solid.^ 

Sunderland, Stepney, Rechteren, and Bruyninx 
set out on their journey from Vienna on the 26th 
of October, and two days later arrived at Nagys- 
zombat, where Bercsenyi was already waiting for 
them. He was eager to show every mark of 
attention to the sea-wonders," as he called them, 
and to display all possible pomp and ceremony in 
their honour. Squadrons of hussars in parade 
uniform, gala coaches with six horses and outriders, 
Bercsenyi's household officers, and finally Senator 
Gerhard and Bishop Pyber met them on the road ; 
the town was decorated, houses had been fitted up 
for their convenience, and banquets were awaiting 
them. But when they came to speak of the object 

1 The despatches and letters of Des Alleurs to Lewis XIV. and Torcy of 
that time are full of complaints and fears about the desire of Rakoczi's 
generals and troops to come to peace. They have never been printed, but 
they are in the archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France at the Quay 
d'Orsay, where I have read them. His zeal for his master's interests seems to 
have completely blinded his judgment, not only with regard to the true 
interests of Hungary in the struggle, but also as to the character and aims of 
the kurucz leaders. He even accuses Bercsenyi of only having his private 
interests at heart, and of being ready to come to an agreement with 
Austria, even at the expense of Rakoczi and Hungary. He gives, however, 
not the shadow of a proof for this assertion, which is belied by Bercsenyi's 
conduct at Nagyszombat and his private correspondence with Rakoczi and 
Karolyi. Des AUeurs's own endeavours were mainly directed towards augment- 
ing the distrust of the Hungarians against Austria, and he again and again 
represented to Rakoczi the absolute necessity of obtaining the possession of 
Transylvania as the only safe guarantee against the future vengeance of the 
Imperial Court. 


of their mission they found that Bercsenyi had no 
desire or intention to make peace, and made not the 
least disguise about it. In reality he judged that 
the Emperor's Ministers had urged the mediators 
to go to Nagyszombat in order to get rid of them, 
and as dilatory tactics suited his own purpose, he 
adopted them with a vengeance. The mediators 
saw that for the present their task was hopeless, 
and that all they could do was to spin out the 
negotiations, trusting to time and circumstances 
for a change. Sunderland judged that for this 
purpose his presence was superfluous, and after a 
week's stay returned to Vienna, where the Duke 
of Marlborough was then expected, and then went 
back with him to England, leaving the continuation 
of the negotiations to Stepney and the two Dutch- 

It was the Austrian Government who had 
proposed Nagyszombat for the meeting of the 
conference, but now, when their proposition had 
been accepted, they feared that their plenipo- 
tentiaries would be at a disadvantage in a kurucz 
town, and wished that they should remain in 
Pozsony, while the Hungarians might remove to 
Bazin, and the mediators reside at St. George, 
about half-way between the two towns. Bercsenyi 
at once refused to move from Nagyszombat, but 
made no objection to the Austrians remaining 
in Pozsony. So it was settled that the two com- 
missions should sit in the two towns about thirty 


miles distant, and the unfortunate mediators travel 
between them. 

The negotiations thus begun lasted till the end 
of July of next year, but many months had to pass 
before an earnest attempt for an agreement was 
made and the crucial point between the two sides 
touched. Objections were raised on formal points, 
theoretical assertions put forward in a spirit of 
cavil, and evidently for no other purpose but that 
of delay. At first Bercsenyi found fault with 
Stepney's credentials, then with the wording of 
the Emperor's acceptance of the mediation. When 
he had received satisfaction on these points he fell 
back on the preliminary declarations with regard 
to the meaning of heredity, and sent to the 
mediators two long and intricate state papers on 
the question.^ Inwardly he chafed at the necessity 
of having to lose his time over nothing when he 
might so much better employ it in camp,^ and 
whenever he rejoined his troops, which he fre- 
quently did, the mediators had nobody to speak 
to, for the other commissioners were mere puppets, 
and would not have dared to give an opinion in 
his absence.^ 

1 These Memoranda are dated from the 20th and 28th of December 1705, 
and are printed in the first volume of Histoire des Revolutions. On their 
receipt Bruyninx wrote to Stepney that he was surprised by their spirit of 
cavil and chicane, and the latter replied by calling them captious and unin- 
telligible {Archivum RaL, part ii. vol. ii. p. 300). 

2 "I regret the days which I spend here idly breaking my head over 
nothing." — Bercsenyi to Rakoczi, October 28, 1705. 

3 He is the oracle, the others are only cuckolds." — Bruyninx to Stepney, 
January 18, 1706. 


When it came to haggling over forms and ex- 
pressions or delaying decisions, the Austrian council 
was fully a match for the kurucz leaders. It found 
fault with the term "aggrieved party" which 
Bruyninx had employed with regard to the 
Hungarians, it harped on the difference between 
repairing, restoring, and reintegrating the laws, 
and it was as obstinate about refusing the pre- 
liminary declaration as the other side was in 
insisting on it. But, in reality, the most influential 
persons in Vienna were inclining for peace,^ only 
that their desire to conclude it was warped by the 
hope to enforce it. They hesitated and delayed as 
long as they hoped for decisive results from Herbe- 
ville's operations, and made unacceptable proposi- 
tions for a truce, suiting their convenience but not 
the military situation. At the same time they 
renewed their efforts to come to a direct under- 
standing with the two kurucz leaders. Princess 
Rakoczi^ was treated with marked distinction by 
the Empress,^ and Count Wratislaw's visits at her 

1 The Imperial council was nowise harmonious and united. Its most 
influential members at that time were Prince Salm., Prince Eugen, Counts 
Wratislaw and Sinzendorf. Salm hated Prince Eugen and Wratislaw, but in 
spite of his opposition the latter had been entrusted by the Emperor with the 
chief management of Hungarian affairs. Wratislaw was decidedly for peace 
if reasonable conditions could be obtained. See his letter to King Charles of 
July 5, 1705. 

^ The Princess had already in Emperor Leopold's reign been allowed to 
go about without any restraint in Vienna, and to enjoy the privileges of her 
rank and position. Frechot's Mimoires sur la Cour de Vienne^ Cologne, 
1705? PP- 325-327, contain some notices about her life there. 

2 " My poor wife writes that the Empress has sent for her, and in an indirect 
way has suggested her visit here in order to accelerate the treaty, from which 
I conclude that either the Danes are very few in number or that they do not 
trust in them." — Rakoczi to Bercsenyi, July 3, 1705. 



house became more and more frequent.^ Szirmay 
was employed to approach Bercsenyi, and although 
we have no direct evidence as to the offers made, 
it seems most probable that the prospect of the 
Palatine's office was held out to him.^ 

Rakoczi's mind at that time was made up to insist 
on Transylvania. He knew, or he felt, that this 
condition would never be willingly conceded, and 
therefore had no belief in the result of the negotia- 
tions. Above everything else he wanted to remain 
in close touch with the nation who had confided her 
destiny to him, but whose determination to continue 
the war at all hazard seemed doubtful.^ To ascertain 

^ "I am more and more convinced that Szirmay has secret orders. He is 
in continuous correspondence with Wratislaw, who pays frequent visits to 
Mme Rakoczi" (Stepney to Bruyninx, December 22, 1705). 

2 It was the general belief in the Hungarian camp that if peace was con- 
cluded Bercsenyi would be made Palatine of the realm (Des Alleurs to Torcy, 
April 20, 1706). Bercsenyi had always warned Rakoczi against putting too 
much faith in French promises, and to insist on a formal treaty. Des Alleurs 
had to work in the opposite direction, and feeling Bercsenyi's influence to be 
against him, suspected his attitude at Nagyszombat, wrote to Lewis XIV., 
and told Rakoczi that Bercsenyi was mainly pursuing his private advantages. 
The mediators, on the other hand, were jealous of anything which looked like 
leaving them aside, and noticed with displeasure Szirmay's private interviews 
with Bercsenyi and his subsequent reception in Vienna by the Emperor and 
Count Wratislaw. There is, however, not the slightest evidence that 
Bercsenyi at any time contemplated severing his cause from that of Rakoczi. 
There is no doubt that the Court flattered itself at the time with the idea of 
winning Bercsenyi over. Emperor Joseph had asked Szirmay in December 
when Bercsenyi would come over, and Princess Rakoczi wrote that she would 
only remain in Vienna until this event had happened. See Bercsenyi's letter 
to Rakoczi of December 20, 1705. And on February 25, after Bercsenyi had 
left Miskolcz, Des Alleurs wrote that he had made the "false" confidence to 
Rakoczi as to how the Imperial Court had offered him the Palatinate and 
50,000 thalers if he would bring about the pacification of the realm. The 
particular bitterness with which Bercsenyi was regarded in Vienna after the 
failure of the negotiations seems also to prove that by lending his ear to 
Szirmay's offers he had only wished to draw him out as to the Court's intentions. 

3 ' ' The new Emperor shows himself more inclined to peace. Whether 
the country will accept it or not I cannot tell, but if I had my wish as to con- 
tinuing the affairs of the country according to my understanding, I would put 
small faith in their promises." — Rakoczi to Tokoli in July 1705. 


its attitude and to strengthen his hands he called a 
conference of his Senate and Council to Miskolcz in 
January, where the peace conditions were to be 
discussed^ and several matters referring to the 
administrative organization of the Confederacy, 
especially its finances, attended to. 

In Szecsen Rakoczi had left everything to the 
convention, and the latter had returned the compli- 
ment by leaving everything to him. It was not 
likely that the senators and councillors in Miskolcz, 
whom he had himself appointed, would take a differ- 
ent attitude. Desirous as they were for a cessation 
of the struggle,^ they were ready to leave the 

1 On January 6 Des Alleurs had a long conversation with Rakoczi at Tokaj, 
about which he wrote to Torcy : " The person I have at Nagyszombat 
writes that the Court of Vienna have an inconceivable desire for peace . . . 
but at the same time the Emperor has given to understand that he cannot 
cede Transylvania, but that in exchange he would join two or three counties to 
the estates of Rakoczi, which would be erected into a principality. . . . This gave 
me occasion to tell the Prince that if this rumour was true and would be 
realized, I would think him very much exposed to the vengeance of the House 
of Austria. . . . The Prince replied . . . that he had put his private interests 
into the hands of the Confederacy and the senators, who would assemble on 
the 25th and decide on the propositions of peace. To their resolutions he 
would be obliged to submit himself, having always declared that he would 
consent to whatever the country would see fit to adopt. . . . He also said 
that in case he should be obliged to accept the Emperor's offers, he would 
put himself in a position not to fear the Court of Vienna by fortifying his 
places. ... I answered that he ought not to flatter himself with this, as the 
Court would pick a German quarrel to invade his home, and that magnanimity 
has its limits. . . . An hour later he called me back, and told me that he 
had thought over what I had told him, and come to the determination not to 
yield on his just pretensions to Transylvania." 

Des Alleurs was suspecting all the time that Bercsenyi would yield on 
Transylvania, but already, on November 7, he had written to Rakoczi that 
Transylvania was the chief question, and expressed his astonishment that the 
Court will not yield on the point, together with his hope that it will be forced 
to do so. 

2 It was from Miskolcz that Des Alleurs wrote on February 3 that the 
whole realm is in favour of peace, and ten days later he complains that he is 
looked askance at by the Hungarians because they accuse him of thwarting their 
wishes for peace. Still he writes at the same time that the Hungarians are 


decision of the conditions to the Prince, the more so 
as those he wished to insist upon responded to their 
own way of looking on things. Distrust of Austria, 
her statesmen and assurances, was deep and general 
in Hungary, and hence the determination to obtain 
for the future peace a stronger safeguard than a mere 
treaty. The strongest and surest seemed the return 
to the former state of things in Transylvania. The 
resolutions of the assembly were framed accordingly. 
The Senate declared its willingness to continue the 
negotiations and to instruct the commissioners in 
the name of the Confederacy, but the instructions 
were drawn up in accordance with Rakoczi's sug- 
gestions, and demanded the guarantee of Sweden 
and Prussia and the cession of Transylvania. 

Less serious, but more annoying, were the 
difficulties the mediators had to contend with on the 
other side. There was a lack of unity in the Im- 
perial Council which produced not only delays and 
hesitations, but made its decisions seem contra- 
dictory. On one side the Austrians were treating 
with the Hungarians as from power to power, on the 
other they fell back to their habit of looking upon 
them as rebels and malcontents. The Emperor had 
enhanced the lustre of his commission by appointing 
the Cardinal Archbishop of Osnabruck, a prince 
of Lorraine, as its head and by adding Counts 
Illeshazy and Lamberg to it, and Wratislaw had 

resolved not to make peace without Transylvania and without obtaining 
satisfaction on the point of heredity. 


written to the mediators that the Court had resolved 
to proceed in the negotiations with all the forms in use 
amongst nations.^ But when towards the middle of 
January the Imperial Council gave its reply to the 
H ungarian demands about the preliminary assurances, 
it was couched in such terms that the mediators 
refused to forward it to Miskolcz lest it should lead 
to an immediate rupture.^ Amnesty, grace, pardon, 
the Emperor's diploma, the Palatine's patents were 
offered and invoked therein, which were the very 
things the Hungarians would not hear of. The 
Court refused to modify the reply, but consented to 
have it suppressed and another couched in more 
satisfactory terms sent by the mediators in their own 
name. The assembly at Miskolcz did not accept 
this as sufficient, and issued a manifesto to the 
nation to inform it that they had entered into 
negotiations, but that the House of Austria had 
not as yet given the desired declaration that it 
recognized Hungary as a free and independent 

If the Hungarians could not obtain the full 
recognition they wanted, there could be no disguise 
about the fact that they had won a good deal. Only 
two years had elapsed since the Austrian statesmen 

1 Wratislaw to the mediators, December 2, 1705, Archivwn //., vol. ii. p. 55. 

2 Bruyninx wrote to Stepney that with the greatest possible care the 
Imperial Ministers could not have drawn up a paper more destructive of its 
own ends, and that its sending might induce the assembly at Miskolcz to 
declare the throne vacant. " Victorious generals holding the enemy at their 
mercy might have spoken so, but not a Court wishing to conciliate a nation. 
In Vienna they are either blind or think everybody else a fool " (January). 
— Archivum IL, vol. ii. pp. 370-378. 



would deal with them solely through secret emis- 
saries, and now the Emperor had appointed a 
prince of the Empire to treat with Rakoczi's commis- 
sioners. His allies as well as his enemies accredited 
their Ministers to the Hungarian leader, and in 
their letters addressed him as their beloved cousin. 
Again had Hungary taken rank among European 
nations and entered as a factor into their political 
calculations. And what was more, it had all been 
won by the nation's own force alone without any 
Turkish aid or connivance. Well might the 
Hungarian leaders pause and ask themselves 
whether it was not time to stop on the steps of the 
graduated staircase,^ leaving the care of further 
ascent to the future. 

Rakoczi had called not only his senate but also 
his economic council to Miskolcz, and if the war 
was to be continued, the measures to be discussed 
by the latter were of even more importance than 
those by the former. If finance was the weakest 
spot in the Emperor's armament, it was still more 
so in Hungary, where there was neither regular 
revenue from taxation nor credit. The Austrian 
attempt to impose a taxation of 4 million florins 
on the country had been one of the chief causes of 
the uprising, and when Rakoczi's power was 
established he abandoned this source of revenue, 
or rather left it to the disposition of the counties, 
who levied the taxes or not as they could and 

1 Bercsenyi's own words in a letter of March 27, 1705. 


pleased. They had to furnish what was necessary 
for the entertainment of the troops, gratuitous labour 
and contributions in kind, but this revenue was un- 
certain and its burden fell very unequally upon the 
various parts of the country. Of regular income 
the Confederacy had only the revenues from the 
crown domains, from the indirect taxes — duties on 
importations and taxes on salt — and from the pro- 
duce of the mines, about 600,000 florins yearly 
altogether. Rakoczi paid his household troops 
from his private income and received from Lewis 
XIV. a monthly subsidy of 50,000 francs. To fill 
the unavoidable gap he had recourse to credit 
money. That, owing to the crudity of the times, 
it was coined out of copper instead of being printed 
on paper made it less convenient to carry, but 
added nothing to its intrinsic value. He had 
resorted to this expediency almost from the begin- 
ning of his power, when about 2 million florins 
of this money had been put into circulation. This 
amount had been greatly increased since,^ and the 
natural consequence had followed. The precious 
metals had disappeared, the copper money had been 
devaluated, and prices had risen. Besides, the crude 
coinage of the new money had made its imitation 
easy, and the country was swamped with spurious 
coins. Clearly something had to be devised to 
obviate the ever-growing difficulties, and what that 

1 On February 13 Des Alleurs writes that the amount already coined was 
20 million, clearly an exaggeration. 


something should be was now laid before the 
economic council. 

Sound heads were not wanting in the assembly 
who understood that war could not be waged and 
government carried on without certain and increased 
revenue and on fictitious money only. Foremost 
amongst them was Stephen Platthy, who at Szecsen 
had made a bold stand against Bercsenyi on the 
question of Protestant revindications, and who now 
proposed that the further coinage of the Libertas " 
money ^ should be stopped and a war tax imposed 
upon all real estate without difference of classes. 
But Rakoczi was afraid of the unpopularity of the 
measure, and opposed it. He was as well aware 
that something could not be made out of nothing as 
was Count Gundaker Starhemberg in Vienna, but 
he viewed the question from political more than 
from economic considerations, and dreaded the dis- 
affection the proposed taxation might engender 
more than the dangers of further depreciation. He 
further thought that things might be carried on two 
or three years longer with the copper money chiefly, 
if its usefulness were enhanced by its being made 
legal tender for the payment of debts.^ In no case 
was he prepared to go so far as to subject the 
privileged classes to a direct taxation, and therefore 

1 The coins were officially called Libertas from the picture of the goddess 
of liberty stamped upon them, but the people called them kongo^ which 
means " resounders. " 

2 The copper money had originally been made for the payment of the 
troops, and was not legal tender for the payment of debts or redeeming of 


could easily make use of the argument that the new 
tax would fail to accomplish its purpose of bringing 
money into circulation. For if there was any money 
hoarded, it was by the upper classes, upon whom the 
tax would not fall, and all the vexations which 
usually went with such taxation would fail to extract 
from the lower orders and bring into circulation 
what they did not possess. Rakoczi's views naturally 
prevailed, and a series of resolutions were taken, 
which, however, plunged the country only deeper 
into the quagmire of financial distress. The coinage 
of copper was increased, the value of the unit 
lowered, it was made legal tender for the discharge 
of debts, regulations of prices were issued under 
severe penalties for offenders, and as a safeguard 
against imitations it was resolved to stamp the coins 
with the picture of the Holy Virgin. 

These measures were a great mistake, and the 
financial disorder which they produced undoubtedly 
contributed towards sapping the strength of the 
national cause. But if taxation was to be avoided 
and loans were not to be had either at home ^ or 
abroad, they seemed unavoidable, and were resorted 
to just as the French issued their assignats during 

1 The system of national -loans was yet in its infancy in Continental 
Europe at the period, but even if it had further developed a loan could not 
have been raised in Hungary because of the scarcity of ready money. Lewis 
XIV. transmitted his subsidies to Rakoczi through Poland by letters of 
exchange, and, to avoid the cost, risk, and delay of such remittances, sug- 
gested that the money might be advanced by capitalists in Hungary, who 
in turn would receive inscriptions on the Hdtel de Ville (equivalent to 
good bonds). But Des Alleurs replied that there was not a single person in 
Hungary who could place 6000 francs on the Hotel de Ville. 


the great Revolution, and the southern states of the 
American Union their paper money (bluebacks) 
during their Civil War. 

During all these negotiations and deliberations 
warfare had been continued. In spite of the defeat 
at Zsibo the military situation at the beginning of 
1706 was ^decidedly in favour of the Hungarians. 
In the north — from Pozsony to Munkacs — Rakoczi 
held undisputed sway, and his generals had just 
established his rule in those south-western counties 
on the right bank of the Danube the protection of 
which the authorities at Vienna had particularly at 
heart. To reconquer them the Austrians had no 
troops available. The bulk of their army was in 
Transylvania, from whence it could not be moved, 
and where it had to fight with difficulties of its own. 
Palffy's feeble forces had been so much reduced 
that he found himself unable to guard the lines of 
the Leitha, whither he had retreated in December, 
and retired still farther under the very walls of 
Vienna. Reinforcements were ordered from Bavaria, 
where the peasant uprising against the Austrian 
rule had just been quenched, but until they arrived 
he could do nothing. 

The Trans-Danubian counties in the meanwhile 
formally joined the Confederacy established at 
Szecsen. They did not only take the prescribed 
oath and send a deputation to Rakoczi in Eger to 
present him with their homage, but showed them- 
selves willing to fulfil the obligations of their new 


allegiance. Fourteen new regiments were formed 
out of their contingents, ten of cavalry and four of 
infantry, and although most of these men were as 
yet raw levies, there were also a good many old and 
tried frontier soldiers amongst them. At the same 
time an entrenched camp was established in the 
Rabakoz near Kapuvar, and the forts of the Raba 
and Rabcza fortified by Riviere, which proved of 
great value in the ensuing operations. 

As the Austrian Government at that time un- 
doubtedly wished for peace,^ it would have clearly 
been in their interest to conclude a truce, which at 
least would have insured their unprotected frontiers 
against new inroads. But they wanted to obtain 
from the armistice what they could only gain 
by a victorious campaign, and as the Hungarians 
refused to evacuate the counties which they held, 
or to consent to any withdrawal of troops from 
Transylvania, a new effort was to be made, and a 
concentric attack from three sides was devised by 
the Imperial Council of War. There were a few 
German soldiers left in the fortresses of Petervarad 
and Brod, and also some Croatian and Servian 
frontier militia in the country around them. The 
commanders of those forts, Baron Nehem and 
Count Herberstein, received orders to organize an 
expeditionary corps with these forces, to cross the 
river Drava, and to march on Bottjan's army from 

1 It was at this time that Des Alleurs wrote that the Imperial Court had an 
inconceivable desire for peace. 


the south. Hannibal Heister was to come from 
Styria with the Styrian and Croatian levies he 
could assemble, and Palffy was to march from the 
lines of the Leitha and join the other two invading 
corps at or around Szombathely. In this way an 
army of about ii,ooo men was to be brought to- 
gether which ought to be sufficient to turn the 
tables and drive the kurucz beyond the Danube. 

The plan was well conceived on paper but 
utterly failed in its execution. 

The preparations for the attack from the Drava 
had not remained secret before the Hungarian 
leaders. To meet it, Bottjan had been ordered 
south, while in the west, where Bercsenyi could 
always exercise control, Stephen Csaky and Paul 
Andrassy were left in separate commands. Owing 
to their inefficiency, Bercsenyi a few weeks later 
sent Forgach across the Danube to take supreme 
command over them both. 

The first to move was General Herberstein ; he 
was also the first to give up. With a small corps 
of about 3000 men he crossed the Drava on 
February 4, marched on Pech, which he found 
abandoned by the enemy, and from there to Igal, 
where Bottjan, with a force of about the same 
number, stood ready to meet him. The Austrian 
commander won the day, but there his success 
ended. Neither the temper nor the discipline of 
his levies made them fit for lasting exertions or 
long-winded operations. They had filled their bags 


and carts with the loot of the towns and villages 
they had traversed, and now wanted to bring it 
home. Herberstein still advanced towards Simony- 
torna, but when on his way he found Bottjan in an 
entrenched position, he did not choose to attack him 
a second time, but decided to turn back. On the 
24th he recrossed the Drava, and two days later 
arrived in Brod, from where he had started. His 
campaign had been nothing more than a raid. 

Nor did Palffy and Heister achieve much more. 
The former had had to wait for his reinforcements, 
and it was only on the 24th of February that he 
set out on his campaign. On March 6 he entered 
Soprony, where he was welcomed with shouts of joy 
by its citizens. They had been besieged and then 
blockaded by the kurucz, but now Palffy's arrival 
put an end to their woes. From Soprony the 
Imperial commander advanced east to the lines of 
the Raba, but when he arrived there he found the 
fordable places so strongly entrenched and the 
kurucz in so guarded a position that he did not 
care to attack them. So he turned back to 
Szombathely to wait for Heister, who was coming 
from Styria by way of St. Gotthard and Kormend. 

Hitherto neither of the Austrian commanders 
had met with any resistance. Andrassy and Csaky 
simply retreated before them, although they had a 
great superiority in numbers and held the inner 
lines. It is true that their troops were mostly 
county levies (Hajdu), but those of the enemy, at 


least Heister's, were not of a different calibre. 
When the latter arrived at Kormend he was 
attacked by Ebeczky's and Bezeredy's hussars, 
and a skirmish ensued, in which the kurucz had 
decidedly the advantage. On March 2 1 Palffy and 
Heister joined their forces and then marched forward 
again to the Raba with the intention of forcing its 
passage. Before leaving Szombathely Palffy had 
the town burned, thus adding heavily to a score 
which the kurucz were soon to repay with interest. 

This time again the advance to the Raba ended 
with a retreat. The river was fordable at Kapuvar 
and Lovo, but both places were, thanks to Riviere, 
strongly fortified. Forgach, who had taken over his 
command on the 15th, was on the other side with a 
force of about 14,000, of whom 9000 were cavalry. 
Both commanders were eager for a battle, but 
neither dared to attack the other in his position. 
Forgach would have fain met his adversary in the 
open, where his superiority in cavalry would have 
told to his advantage, but Palffy felt this, and, being 
likewise unable to advance across the river or south 
to Servar and Papa, being besides sorely harassed 
by the kurucz light cavalry and running short of 
provisions, decided on a retreat, and by Csepreg, 
Locsmand, and Koszeg moved slowly back to 

In the meanwhile the horrors of war had been 
brought home to the Austrian border provinces. 
This time their own troops had set the bad example. 


During January kurucz riders had made several 
inroads into Austria and Moravia, but had refrained, 
if not from looting, at least from wanton destruc- 
tion. But when at the end of the month some 
Austrian forces brought provisions and munitions 
to the sorely pressed fortress of Trencsen, several 
villages had been looted and burned by the Mor- 
avian militia who accompanied them. Then Her- 
berstein had continued the work of destruction and 
Palfify had done the same, burning not only villages 
but even a town like Szomabthely. To avenge 
these proceedings, to strike terror into Vienna, and 
to exercise pressure on the Austrian generals, 
Forgach now sent two raiding expeditions over the 
frontier. Stephen Balogh with about 2000 to 3000 
men was to ride into Austria, George Rethey with 
a like force into Styria. They had orders to loot, 
to kill, and to burn, and they obeyed them to their 
hearts' content. Balogh slipped by Palffy's troops 
on March 28, and on the next day rode round 
Wiener Neustadt, through Baden and Laxenburg, 
up to the walls of Vienna, destroying everything on 
his way. The following day he recrossed the fron- 
tier by way of Bruck, bringing the Emperor s fal- 
cons and mules with him, which he had captured at 
Laxenburg. Still greater havoc was wrought by 
Rethey in Styria, where he raided the country from 
the frontier to the capital of Gratz. About ninety- 
two villages, two towns, and several castles were 
burnt by the raiders. 


Great was the woe of the Austrians and Styrians, 
and their discontent turned not only against the 
Emperor's Ministers, who through their obstinacy 
with regard to the armistice had really caused their 
sufferings, but also against the unfortunate generals 
Palffy and Heister, who had been unable to avert 
them. Even at Court Palffy's credit seemed for a 
moment to be shaken, and there was a question of 
relieving him from his command in Hungary and 
sending him to Italy or Spain.^ But when a few 
days later Guido Starhemberg, after Prince Eugen the 
best and most illustrious of the Emperor's generals, 
was appointed to supreme command in Hungary, 
he expressed the formal wish of having Palffy to 
remain with him, and it was forthwith granted.^ 

In the East the tide of events had likewise run 
in favour of the Hungarians. They could not 
expect to regain by one direct blow what they had 
lost at Zsibo, but they could count on time and 
distance to work for them in weakening and 
exhausting the enemy. The voids which the 

1 This change had already been considered in March before the last 
Hungarian raids. When the two armies were facing each other at Csepreg 
(March 24), Forgach had intercepted a courier from Vienna to Palffy, and in 
his mail found an intimation from the Imperial Council of War that he would 
be shortly transferred to Italy, also a letter from his wife wherein she com- 
plained bitterly about the losses they had suffered. Forgach sent this letter 
to Palffy with one of his own, highly characteristic of his offhand, boisterous 
and overbearing, and yet loyal, sensible, and highly patriotic nature. Palffy 
in his reply strongly repudiated all responsibility for the burnings and destruc- 
tions, and insisted on his unalterable devotion to his rightful king. See the 
two letters in Archivum Rakoczianuin II., vol. ii. pp. 586-588. 

2 On May 13 Lewis XIV. wrote to Des Alleurs that he had received news 
that Palffy was no longer trusted in Vienna because the kurucz had spared 
his estates, and would have to leave the service. This was evidently based 
on talk and hearsay about the episode of Vorosko in October, and was untrue. 


victorious campaign had torn in the Imperial army- 
could not be filled ; horses, ammunition, and clothes 
were wanting ; and communications with Vienna were 
slow and uncertain. The kurucz in the meanwhile 
had rallied from the first effect of their defeat ; 
they still held one-third of Transylvania ; Karolyi 
had reorganized his forces, and from the valley of 
the Szamos began a campaign of skirmishing war- 
fare calculated to worry and harass the enemy. 
Several minor engagements took place, where the 
Austrians and their Danish auxiliaries were sur- 
prised and suffered serious loss. Slowly but sorely 
their positions had changed. They had come to 
Transylvania as conquerors ; in the course of the 
winter they found themselves shut in. The re- 
cognition that time and circumstances were helping 
in the ruin of the enemy was the chief reason for 
which Rakoczi in the early winter and till the 
meeting at Miskolcz opposed the armistice. For 
the same reason the Imperial Government wished 
to withdraw part of their troops. But Rabutin, who 
had succeeded Herbeville in the command, judged 
that they were not in condition to move. On April 
7 the Emperor sent him at last positive orders to 
march with the bulk of his forces from Transylvania 
to the banks of the Tibiscus, but these did not 
reach him before the nth of May, and when 
towards the end of this month the Imperial Com- 
missioner, Count Althan, arrived to inform him of the 
armistice, he found him not on the Tibiscus but far 


away at Szasz Sebes, while Karolyi had advanced 
to the line of the river Maros. 

Under the influence of adversity the Austrian 
Ministers abated their pretensions. At the begin- 
ning of March they had still insisted on the evacua- 
tion of the Trans-Danubian counties during the 
armistice. The kurucz commissioners would not 
hear of such a condition, and Rechteren and Bruy- 
ninx, in despair over this interminable haggling, 
had sent a draught of their own to Vienna, with the 
declaration that if it was not accepted they would 
consider their mission as ended. The effect of 
their letter was heightened by the news of Balogh's 
raid, and on the 30th of March the Imperial Council 
dropped the obnoxious condition and sent new pro- 
posals based on the actual state of things. But 
Bercsenyi saw a trap in every Austrian concession, 
and it took two weeks of further deliberations be- 
fore a fortnight's suspension of arms for Western 
Hungary only was agreed upon, then three weeks 
more until this short and localized truce was con- 
verted into a general and longer armistice. There 
were its duration, the cantonments of Palffy's troops, 
the means for their subsistence, the revictualling 
of the fortresses still held by the Austrians, and the 
communications with the army in Transylvania to 
be settled, and the same spirit of distrust and cavil 
which had prevailed through all the negotiations, and 
which always feared to be taken in, and wished- to 
make the most of every trifling occurrence, entered 




into the discussion of these questions. Finally, 
an agreement was effected after a personal appeal 
to Rakoczi, to whom Stepney and Rechteren had 
paid a visit in Nyitra. The armistice was to 
last until the 12th of July. An elaborate conven- 
tion in twelve Articles was drawn up, signed by 
the commissioners, and ratified by the Emperor and 
Rakoczi. In the adjustment of most of the dis- 
puted questions the Hungarians had carried their 
point ; moreover, they had gained another important 
concession. In the instrument of the armistice the 
Court of Vienna recognized for the first and only 
time the Hungarian Confederacy, calling their adver- 
saries no longer malcontents but Confederate Estates 
of Hungary. Nevertheless Bercsenyi refused to 
put his name to the instrument, which bears only 
the signatures of Csaky, Kajaly, and Gerhard. 
During all the negotiations as also at the Conference 
of Nyitra he had been raising objections and diffi- 
culties,^ and now he was dissatisfied with a con- 
cession Rakoczi had made with regard to the 
dislocation of Palffy's troops.^ 

1 See Stepney's account of his journey to Nyitra, State Paper No. 553 of 
the 8th of May, Arch. Rak. 11.^ vol. iii. p. ii ; also Rechteren's letter to 
Stepney of May 12, ibid. p. 26. 

2 The troops of both sides lived mainly at the expense of the country 
which they occupied, and this consideration entered into the wish of the 
Austrians to make the boundary for Palffy's division as wide as possible. 
When the point of their retreat behind the Leitha was in discussion, Rakoczi 
had in a private letter to his wife declared his inclination to furnish them 
with provisions in a manner to be agreed upon later. Thereupon the 
Austrians raised most exorbitant pretensions {13,516 portions for men, and 
7316 for horses), and the point was finally settled by allowing them to occupy 
during the armistice a territory of about 4 square miles more than Bercsenyi 
had conceded to the mediation. Hence his dissatisfaction. See Stepney's 
letter to Harley of May 12, State Paper No. 560. 


The Peace Congress at Nagyszombat — Rakoczi and Wratislaw — 
Transylvanian question the main obstacle to peace — Failure of 
the Congress. 

The Peace Congress was to assemble on the 25th 
of May, and it had been agreed upon that the 
Hungarians would open it by presenting their 
demands. The time had come for Rakoczi to lay 
his cards on the table and clearly to define the issue 
between him and Austria. 

Hitherto he had endeavoured to avoid doing so. 
In his opening manifesto he had declared that he 
had taken arms to free his country from the Austrian 
yoke. When reconciliation was at first broached, 
the demand for an international guarantee had been 
raised, then the question of heredity and King 
Andrew's Bull. From Gyongyos Szechenyi had 
sent the XXV. Articles, but they represented rather 
what he had gathered to be the sense of the nation 
than its formulated demands. Neither at Selmecz 
nor at Szecsen, nor during the long negotiations of 
the preceding winter did the Hungarian leaders 
formally and clearly state their conditions for peace. 



When Rakoczi re-entered his country and un- 
furled the banner of revolution he undoubtedly- 
intended to go as far as he could, and finally to 
sever the connection of Hungary with the House of 
Austria. His right to do so was neither more nor 
less than that of William of Orange and George 
Washington, who cut the ties which bound their 
countries to Spain and Great Britain. His ability 
to carry out what he planned depended on the 
temper of his nation and its military power, and 
these again turned on the fortune of the great war 
in the West. Hence Rakoczi's endeavours to shape 
his declarations according to its events. 

In the meanwhile the Transylvanian election had 
brought a new element into the situation, which soon 
became its dominant factor. As yet Rakoczi had 
made no formal declaration that the recognition of 
his election was to be the crucial point for peace or 
war ; but that it was so in his mind was no secret for 
either friend or foe.^ Would the Emperor concede 
Transylvania to the Prince or not ? was the theme 
constantly discussed at the camp-fires of the kurucz 
as well as at the banqueting tables and in the council 
chambers of their leaders. 

That the Hungarian grievances were real and 
serious is beyond a doubt. Far more serious than 
those which made the colonies of America take arms 

^ See his letters to Okolicsanyi and Szirmay in Arch. Rak. I., vol. i. pp. 
449-450 ; ibid. pp. 463, 473-474, where he also mentions what he had 
written to his wife on the subject ; Bercsenyi's declarations to the mediators. 
Arch. Rak. I., p. i ; Stepney's reports, and above all those of Des Alleurs from 
January 1705 onward. 



against George IH. Reluctantly and half-heartedly 
even Emperor Leopold had acknowledged it; his 
son had always laid stress on the fact that he was 
innocent of the acts which had caused them. But 
with the repeal of the obnoxious measures, the 
restoration of the constitution, the promise to 
respect it in the future, and the referring of all special 
desires to the next Parliament the Sovereigfn had 
done all that could be asked from him, and he ex- 
pected that for the fulfilment his word had to be 
accepted. That as a punishment for past misdeeds 
or a guarantee against their repetition he should 
consent to the abolition of heredity, the right of 
armed resistance, the guarantee of foreign Powers, 
or the abandonment of a province was and could 
not be expected as long as his power was not 
broken. Put like this the question was unsolvable 
but by force of arms. 

From the outset the Austrian statesmen had 
judged that peace might be easily achieved if they 
could make terms with either one of the two leaders. 
At different intervals they had approached Bercsenyi, 
but with scant success ; now a supreme attempt was 
to be made to come to a direct understanding with 
Rakoczi. The task was to be undertaken by Count 
Wratislaw^ — with the exception of Prince Eugen 

1 John Wenzel, Count Wratislaw (born 1669), entered the Imperial service 
1693, was sent to England on a special mission after the death of Charles of 
Spain for the conclusion of the great alliance. He remained there and at 
The Hague until May 1703. Towards the end of the same year he 
accompanied Charles of Austria, for whom the allies claimed the Spanish 
throne, as far as England, and remained there after the latter's departure for 


the ablest of the Emperor's advisers. He was a 
statesman of sound judgment, great experience, and 
strong convictions. He was no enemy of Hungary, 
still less of Rakoczi himself. Had the direction of 
affairs lain in his hands a decade ago, it might be 
assumed that the nation would not have been driven 
to despair. But he was above all a devoted servant 
of his Sovereign's interests, and he fully understood 
the importance of Transylvania. There he was 
unshakable. Liberal, yea brilliant, compensations 
he was ready to offer to Rakoczi ; but sooner than 
advise the Emperor to yield on this point he would 
see his right hand cut off.^ 

To pave the way for Wratislaw's mission Princess 
Rakoczi was to be used. The favour of her visit 
had been solicited by her husband from Selmecz 
eighteen months ago, but then peremptorily refused.^ 
The short truce had hardly been arranged when she 
announced to him that the Emperor had now con- 
sented to her visit on condition that he would send 
her back to Vienna whenever the Emperor should 
require it. The promise was given and the Princess 

Portugal. It was in those days that his intimate friendship with the Duke of 
Marlborough was formed. He accompanied the Duke in his campaign of 
1704, and was present at the battle of Blenheim. After his return to Vienna 
he was made Supreme Judge (Oberst Landrichter) and later Chancellor of 
Bohemia ; and whenever important diplomatic negotiations offered, was selected 
for the task. So in 1706 for the negotiations with Rakoczi, and the year 
after with Charles XII. of Sweden. He died in 1712. For his biography see 
Arneth's essay ** Wratislaw," in Allgcmeine deutsche Biographien. 
^ See Arneth as above. 

2 Stepney to Harley, May i, 1 706, Arch. Rak. II., vol. ii. pp. 64O. 
641. If in 1704 the Austrian authorities would not consent to Princess 
Rakoczi's leaving Vienna, they seem to have become rather eager to get rid 
of her two years later. Compare above, p. 90. 


sent on her way even before the real armistice had 
been concluded. 

During her three days' journey this young lady ^ 
had ample occasions to make reflections on the 
vicissitudes of life. It was nearly five years since 
she had seen her husband. He was then in the 
prison of Wioner Neustadt, with the executioner's 
sword hanging over his head, from which she had 
helped him to escape. Now she was to see him 
again as the actual ruler of his nation. And what 
was more, the powers that sent her to him were the 
same who five years ago had contemplated his 
destruction. Now she was to assure him of their 
goodwill, and to offer him honours and wealth. The 
pomp and circumstance of her travel was in befitting 
harmony with her husband's position and the object 
of her mission. The Austrians vied with the Hun- 
garians to pay her honours. Two squadrons of 
red-coated Imperial dragoons escorted her gilt and 
crimson-cushioned gala coach ^ through the country 
held by the Austrians. At the gates of Pozsony she 
was received by the commander of the town. Count 
Zinzendorf, and at the palace, where her apartments 
had been prepared, by the Chancellors of Hungary 
and Bohemia, Counts Erdody and Wratislaw. The 
next day the latter gave a banquet in her honour, 
at which Field- Marshal Starhemberg, Count Palffy, 
Archbishop Szechenyi, Stepney, Rechteren, and in 

1 She was then twenty-seven years old. 
2 It had been made for the occasion, and cost 12,000 florins. 


fact everybody of note in Pozsony, were present. 
At the eastern gates of Pozsony 800 kurucz 
hussars, under Ocskay's command, were waiting for 
her, and her journey over the territory in her 
husband's possession became a triumphal procession. 
In the towns through which she passed the crowds 
were shouting, banners flying and guns firing. At 
Bazin, where she spent the second night, Forgach 
did her the honours, at Vedrod Countess Bercsenyi, 
with a large number of ladies belonging to the 
kurucz aristocracy, were waiting for her with dinner, 
at the bridge of Szered, where he had so often been 
encamped, Bercsenyi received her, and outside of 
the town of Nyitra, where his guards had been 
ordered to parade, Rakoczi himself met her. She 
had supposed that their interview would take place 
at the Castle of Tapolcsany, and either she was too 
much absorbed in her conversation with Bercsenyi, 
who was sitting in her coach beside her, or else time 
and a strenuous life had worked their changes, for 
she certainly did not recognize her husband in the 
tall, dark captain in plain uniform, who had been 
riding alongside her carriage for some time. It was 
only when, after arriving at the place where the 
carabineer guards were posted, he had exchanged 
his short, overhanging, fur coat, for one of royal 
purple, and donned the diamond-studded, heron- 
plumed headgear, that she knew the husband who, 
amidst the firing of salutes, the lowering of flags, and 
the hurrahs of the people, took her into his arms. 


That the Princess had not merely come on an 
errand of love or courtesy was everybody's guess. 
It soon became known that she had brought to her 
husband, not only the Emperor's kind messages, but 
also the offer of the Marquisate of Burgau, to be 
erected into a principality as a compensation 
for Transylvania.^ If her mission had merely ex- 
cited the apprehensions of Des Alleurs or even the 
anxiety of Bercsenyi, nothing would have seemed 
more natural ; but it is a curious instance of the pro- 
fessional's dislike for an amateur's performance that 
it should also have provoked the severest criticism 
of the mediators.^ 

Whether, and to what extent, the Princess 
endeavoured to move her husband in the sense of 
her mission does not appear with certainty from the 
sources at our disposition. To judge from the 
reports of Stepney and Des Alleurs ^ it would seem 

1 The Dutch papers wrote about it a few weeks later, and Lewis XIV. 
comments upon it in a letter to Des Alleurs of the 20th of June. 

2 Stepney wrote to Harley on May 2 that the Princess's visit was 
granted * ' out of a design to sow discord and surmises amongst the chiefs of 
the confederates," and then continues : " The Imperial Ministers conform them- 
selves to all shapes, and turn sharply from one extreme to the other when they 
presume it to be for their interest. Any reasonable body will easily see 
through these affected civilities." 

^ Stepney in his letter to Harley of June 14, says: *'I called to his 
remembrance the discussion I had with him at Schemnitz, where I heartily 
entreated him to divest himself of all such notions (with regard to Transyl- 
vania), and rather think of an equivalent in the Empire. . . . The Princess 
owned to us she was of that opinion, and had frequently endeavoured to bring 
him over to those sentiments." But in the same letter later on he says : 
"This and much more had little effect on him, but both he and the Princess 
confidently asserted that His Majesty ought not in the least be surprised at 
this demand, having been frequently informed . . . that it could not be 
otherwise, and they obliquely hinted to us that some sort of hopes had been 
given . . . that the Court might give way on this material point when we 
came to a decision. " Des Alleurs, on his side, wrote to Lewis XIV. on the 1 7th 


that she herself at times entertained the illusion that 
the Court of Vienna might ultimately yield on the 
subject of Transylvania/ or that her new surround- 
ings remained not without influence on her. What 
is certain is that her appeals — if she made them — 
did not alter her husband's resolutions. Whatever 
their affections were in the early days of their 
marriage, the long separation had worked its natural 
effect. The Princess had not been three weeks with 
her husband when she wrote to Vienna that the 
state of her health required a cure at Carlsbad. The 
permission was refused, as Wratislaw judged that 
she might still be useful where she was. 

The usefulness of the poor lady turned most 
certainly not on her powers of persuasion, but her 
presence in her husband's Court was very convenient 
for other purposes. At a period of history where 
questions of etiquette held paramount importance, 
it would have been difficult for the mediators, and 
almost impossible for the Ministers of the Emperor, 
personally to approach Rakoczi without raising a 

of May : * * Mme la princesse qui parait avoir une parfaite connaissance des 
maximes de la cour de Vienne et de I'humeur de ses ministres semble etre per- 
suadee que Ton ne cedera point la Transylvanie au prince Rakoczi, cependant 
elle ne lui conseille pas de se desister de cette pretension, au contraire elle 
parait convaincue qu'il n'y a que la possession de cette principaute qui puisse 
assurer la vie et les biens du prince. C'est dans cette vue qu'elle ne le presse 
point d'accepter aucun equivalent dans I'empire. . . . Cette princesse ne 
s'epouvante point des menaces de la cour de Vienne, elle fait voir dans tous 
ses sentiments du courage et de la fermete." 

1 This, however, seems very unlikely. It is much more probable that the 
Princess at the time had reasons of her own for not wishing overmuch for 
an arrangement, the natural consequence of which would be her having to 
remain with her husband. See Stepney's and the Venetian envoy's reports, 
cited p. 90. 



whole whirlwind of issues about the ceremonial. 
Already, when Stepney and Rechteren had gone to 
Nyitra to arrange about the armistice, the presence 
of the Princess had offered an outlet from these 
difficulties. They had simply called on her. Rakoczi 
had come into the room as if by accident, and the 
rest had followed as a matter of course. The 
Austrians had still their trump card to play, and in 
order to save Wratislaw's intended visits from rubs 
and embarrassments the Princess had to postpone 
her Carlsbad cure. 

Rakoczi had invited his Senate to a meeting at 
Ersek Ujvar in order to draw up the peace pro- 
positions. When these were at last formulated and 
formally handed over to the mediators at Nagys- 
zombat, half of the armistice had expired. Trans- 
mitting the Hungarian demands to his Government, 
Stepney characterized them as being of three classes : 
(i) such as the Emperor is obliged to grant as 
founded on reason, justice, and law ; (2) such as 
he may grant out of fatherly affection and conveni- 
ence, and (3) such as he was bound to reject.-^ 

The Hungarian demands consisted of twenty- 
three Articles, and moved on the same lines as those 
of 1704. Only that which then had vaguely been 
put forward or merely hinted at was now clearly 
expressed. The foreign guarantee was insisted 
upon, and not only that of England and the 

1 Stepney to Harley, June 15, 1706, State Paper 594, in Arch. Rak. 11.^ 
iii. pp. 81-84. 


Netherlands, but also that of Sweden, Prussia, 
Poland, and Venice. So was the recognition of 
the right of resistance as established by King 
Andrew's Bull. The right of heredity was not 
formally denied, but the acts of the diet of Pozsony 
were declared null and void, and the question of 
the succession to the throne relegated to the next 
diet. The separation of Transylvania and the free 
election of her princes was unequivocally demanded. 
Withdrawal of all foreign troops, re-establishment 
of the Palatine's office in full powers, separate 
military organization of Hungary, exclusion of all 
foreign interference in the administration of the 
kingdom, conferring of dignities and offices on 
Hungarians only, free exercise of the recognized 
religions, expulsion of the Jesuits, invalidation of 
illegal donations, abolition of the " neo acquistica" 
commission, indemnity for those illegally condemned 
during the last revolutions, not only amnesty but 
recognition for those involved in the present one, 
confirmation by royal oath of all laws, treaties, and 
diplomas, and the convocation of Parliament once 
at least in three years formed the subject of the 
succeeding Articles. There were, besides, two new 
demands, one stipulating expressly a reward for 
Rakoczi and Bercsenyi, the other for a redemption 
of the copper money coined until now and actually 
in circulation.-^ 

1 For their full text see Histoire des Revolutions de Uongrie, vol. i. 
P- 373-387. 


That in Vienna these demands should have been 
found exorbitant and impertinent, and that the 
Emperor s Ministers chafed under the necessity of 
having to take them into consideration^ is not 
to be wondered at. Still, what the Hungarians 
demanded was the re-establishment of a state of things 
they considered as legal, and which had been con- 
firmed by the treaties of Vienna, Nikolsburg, and 
Linz. Where that state of things had actually been 
abrogated it had — with the exception of a few points 
— been done so not by law but by arbitrary power. 
That the acts of the Diet of Pozsony, establishing 
heredity and abolishing King Andrew s Decree, were 
invalid because obtained through undue influence 
was a pretension hardly to be maintained in a court 
of law, and certainly only to be made good by the 
sword in politics. But that all the acts which, 
during the fourteen years from that diet to Rakoczi's 
imprisonment, had engendered so much discontent 
and bitterness were arbitrarily taken in violation of 
all laws could not be disputed. And that the 
cardinal point, viz. : the status of Transylvania, 
should have remained in doubt, dispute, and obscurity 
was the consequence of the fault committed when 
Hungary had been excluded from her rightful 
participation in the Peace of Carlowitz. 

Anyhow the Hungarian demands were not an 
ultimatum, but propositions offering a basis for 

1 See a letter of Emperor Joseph to Count Gallas of July 21, 1706, H.H. 
Staats-Archiv, wherein the Emperor himself had corrected the draught of his 
Ministers, who had called the Hungarians obstinate rebels. 


negotiation. As soon as Stepney and Rechteren 
had received them they hastened to Pozsony, whither 
the Cardinal of Lorraine, Counts Illeshazy, Lamberg, 
and, a little later, Wratislaw likewise came from 
Vienna. It is characteristic of the times that the 
first point which presented itself for discussion 
should again have been one of etiquette, viz. : 
whether in the cardinal's house the mediators should 
have rank before or behind the Emperor's com- 
missioners, who were privy councillors. The point 
was left in abeyance at first, finally decided in favour 
of the foreigners, the Hungarian demands were 
delivered, and then mediators and commissioners 
repaired to Vienna, the former to make an appeal 
to the Emperor, the latter to take part in the Cabinet 
deliberations on the reply to be given. 

The Austrians this time did their work quicker 
than the Hungarians had done. The Imperial 
Commission had received the latter's demands on 
15th June; on the 28th it was again assembled in 
Pozsony and the Imperial reply handed over to the 
mediators in solemn conference. Like the State 
paper to which it referred, it moved over well- 
trodden ground. The re-establishment of the con- 
stitution, all laws and privileges, the promise to 
keep them inviolate in the future, and to hold a diet 
once at least every three years was freely given ; 
all special grievances and desires referred to the 
next session of Parliament, liberal recognition held 
out for Rakoczi and Bercsenyi, and the question of a 


guarantee declared to be one for the end and not 
for the commencement of the treaty. An emphatic 
refusal was only opposed to the demand for 

In the meanwhile a new complication had risen 
which, as it touched the heart of the matter at once, 
assumed alarming proportions, and was destined to 
become the point on which the labour for peace 
ultimately foundered. 

When the Hungarian Confederacy was constituted 
at Szechen it had been decided to send a deputation 
to Transylvania for the inauguration of Rakoczi, and 
to offer an alliance to the principality, binding both 
countries not to make a separate peace with the 
Emperor. The battle of Zsibo had frustrated this 
purpose, and when Rabutin had become the master 
of the country he had called a diet to Segesvar, 
which had renounced all allegiance to Rakoczi and 
declared the Emperor to be its true and lawful 
Sovereign. But in March Rakoczi had called another 
diet of his adherents to Huszt in Hungary, which 
in its turn protested against the acts passed at 
Segesvar, and unanimously voted the alliance with 
Hungary according to the offer of Szecsen. At 
the same time commissioners were chosen to re- 
present the country at the impending negotiations. 
When early in June the mediators paid a second 
visit to Rakoczi to urge the presentation of the 
Hungarian demands, they were informed that the 
delay had been caused by the absence of the 


Transylvanians ; but that now they had arrived, and 
would accompany the Hungarian commissioners 
to Nagyszombat with credentials from him as their 

In itself the inclusion of the Transylvanians into 
the peace would only have been natural and legiti- 
mate. For although the Austrians maintained the 
view that the country was reconquered and pacified, 
and dissatisfied individuals might speak for them- 
selves but not in the name of any constituted bodies,^ 

1 The Austrian point of view is clearly exposed in a letter of Emperor 
Joseph to Count Gallas, his Minister in London, of July 21, Vienna Haus-, 
Hof- und Staats-Archiv, 1706. The Emperor writes : 

"You know from the course and nature of the Hungarian negotiations 
hitherto carried on, of which we have always kept you fully and exactly 
informed, what and how much we have conceded from pure desire of 
peace, from love and paternal affection for this our erring kingdom, 
and principally in honour of the two mediating Powers. . . . Our 
peace-loving disposition may be seen from our declaration on the informal 
propositions of the rebels. But far from showing any inclination to give 
thereupon a counter - declaration containing even an appearance of any 
desire for peace, they began — in order to gain time, or rather to make us 
lose it — to raise malevolent evasions or ill-contrived pretexts that they could 
not accept our reply before we had recognized the Transylvanians as 
Confederate Estates, — which, however, could not and will not be conceded. 
For although the designation of the Hungarian rebels in the armistice as 
Confederate Estates of the kingdom has been forced upon us, the case of the 
few fugitive Transylvanians who have joined the Hungarians is quite different. 
The Hungarian rebels occupy the greater part of the kingdom, and many 
fortified places, they form an organized body, even if an inadmissible one, 
they constitute a military corps which — alas — is but too strong, nevertheless 
they have not had the presumption to elect another king ; whereas the 
Transylvanians who have joined the rebels are fugitives from their country, 
own no forts or places, constitute no organized body . . . and are not even 
able to assemble in a due locality. The designation as Estates can therefore 
be the less conceded to them, as some of them have instituted the invalid 
election of Rakoczi, which has been reversed and annulled by the loyal 
Transylvanians, who are the vast majority. Consequently, and in order 
not to let the said Transylvanians act as Estates and thereby to seem to 
approve the invalid election or to give an opportunity to have it brought 
forward, we have from well considered reasons declined to admit those 
exiles as Estates to the treaty of peace. Nevertheless, and in order to over- 
come this obstacle, we have consented that the mediators should deliver to 
them an act ' de non praejudicando,' but so that we should have no part or 
knowledge therein. Through this expedient the rebels have after long 


it was still a fact that seven counties were in Rakoczi s 
possession, and that a large part of the higher and 
lower nobility, as well as of the people, were in his 
favour.^ But as the whole question of peace turned 
on the maintenance or resignation of Rakoczi's 
election, the Austrian Ministers were slow to make 
concessions, even on formal points, lest they might 
involve the crux of the matter. In consequence 
Wratislaw had informed the mediators that the 
Transylvanians might be heard if they came 
without any credentials and as the representatives 
of a group of private individuals. This did not 
satisfy the Hungarians, and when the mediators 
returned to Nagyszombat with the Imperial reply 
to their demands, they refused to receive it, and 
wanted to raise a protestation asserting Rakoczi's 
and their allies' rights.^ 

protestations consented to receive our reply to their propositions, but since 
then they have under various pretexts delayed their counter-reply, and have 
only demanded an indefinite prolongation of the armistice until terminated 
by a fortnight's notice. Although this is directly against our interest, as our 
army in Transylvania has been ready to march into Upper Hungary since the 
30th of May, and cannot remain without its own and the country's greatest 
detriment, and as besides its stores will be shortly exhausted, and a mutiny 
and general desertion is to be feared from want of money ... we have 
nevertheless agreed to prolong the armistice to the 24th of July. Nor should 
we have any hesitation in agreeing to a further prolongation if the rebels would 
forego their unfounded pretensions to Transylvania — the unjustifiable nature of 
which is amply explained in our reply — and thereby tender a better hope for 
peace, as is to be seen from our answer to the new instances of the mediation. 

"But as this also has been of no use, and as the rebels persist in their 
improper obstinacy and their chiefs have not paid the least attention to the 
advantageous offers which they have received, there is not a single hope or 
appearance of a just and lasting peace unless obtained by force of arms." 

The rest of the letter refers to the withdrawal of some regiments from the 
army on the Rhine to be employed in Hungary. 

1 Stepney to Harley, July 6 and 10, with memorandum of the mediators 
to the Cardinal of Lorraine. Archivum Rakoczianum II. , vol. iii. pp. 125-129 
and pp. 132-137. 2 Stepney to Harley, July 2 ; ibid. pp. 106-110. 


Things had come to a deadlock. To lift them 
out of it, one side would have to recede on Transyl- 
vania. To establish the fact, to define the situation, 
and to induce Rakoczi to yield were the objects of 
Wratislaw 's mission. For months back it had been 
mooted and prepared, now at the eleventh hour 
it was carried out. But it, too, proved fruitless. 

On his way to the Prince, Wratislaw saw Berc- 
senyi. There were no personal rubs this time. The 
difficulties of address were got over by mutual 
agreement, and Wratislaw's manner was as pleasing 
as that of Seilern had been arrogant eighteen months 
ago. But as to the merit of the matter he could 
achieve nothing. Bercsenyi declared himself to be 
in favour of peace, but not without Transylvania, and 
insisted on the admission of its deputies. He then 
treated his visitor to a dissertation on the rights of 
the case, where he made use of the argument that 
he could not see how the Austrians could base their 
claims on any rights of conquest, when Transylvania 
had not been their enemy but their ally in the war 
against Turkey.^ To the blandishments of the 

1 See Bercsenyi's own account of the interview in the two letters which 
he wrote to Rakoczi on the same day, June 29, Arch, Rak. /., vol. v. pp. 
133-139, wherein he says : 

' ' Wratislaw arrived very early this morning, went straight to bed and 
slept till about ten o'clock. Then we settled through intermediaries that, as 
he would not pretend ' excellency ' from me, I should do so neither, and as 
he only came to see me, I should call on him and he would return my call. 
Everything passed accordingly, and I had two conversations with him. He 
greeted me in the Emperor's name, and very civilly urged me to promote peace. 
Whereupon, confessing my unworthiness, I assured him that I was not and 
am not opposed to peace — but that, as on former occasions, war had been 
begun from public and peace been made from private considerations, it had 
pleased my country to establish a Confederacy, so that this should not happen 
again. Therefore no private arrangements can be looked for, there is no way 


great Minister he turned as deaf an ear as he had 
done before to all hints and offers made for the same 
purpose through minor intermediaries.^ 

to it. On the other hand, as I had sincerely wished for peace from all my 
heart, I could not help regretting that, as they had rejected our sincerity from 
want of time, want of time should now frustrate our hopes. He, replying 
with many words, gave Article 11. (Transylvania) as the reason, and unless he 
saw therein a prospect for hope, could see no way to a prolongation, but let 
us take up the Articles of the reply and give an answer, and with it a hope 
. , . and he then would endeavour to obtain the prolongation. I said it was 
too late. And then I went to the mediators and insisted on time. I saw 
that they approved, but they found the difficulty in the fact that we should 
have grasped the Transylvanian question so tightly. 

" For as I wrote you last night I had a sudden idea. To-day our com- 
missioners assembled together with the Transylvanians, and I proposed as 
a middle term that they should make a protest exhorting us to the alliance 
. . . and we should answer that we would not recede from it, and then — in 
order not to appear to enter into public matters without our allies — we will 
refuse to accept the reply as long as the Transylvanians are not admitted. 
. . . Wratislaw afterwards came to me with a sadder face, and speaking 
very quietly, exhorted me with regard to Article II. , so that he may leave with 
at least this one consolation. After exchanging many words, he laid down 
the principle with regard to Transylvania, that it must remain where it was 
left by the Peace of Carlowitz. I pretended not to know anything about 
that, nor could we in any way consider it, as that peace was concluded about 
us without and against us. But I expressed my great astonishment as to how 
the Emperor could appropriate from Turkey a country with which he had 
been in alliance against Turkey. ... In truth he was arrested there, and his 
eyes became dilated. Finally, in one word I declared that without Transyl- 
vania there could be nothing, but let them get the Transylvanian demands 
started, and give us time to see how far we can get in true order. 

" About your person I did not enter into any discussion (but he only called 
you Rakoczi) ; I merely maintained that we are treating public matters through 
the mediators. The force of the Confederacy is great, we cannot enter into 
any private consideration nor hold out a hope for receding or treating privately 
even if you wished it, but let things proceed in their own way. So he went 
away sadly to try you. But it is my humble opinion that as you have declared 
in your last letter that you do not wish the question to be considered a private 
one, adhere to it, and, regarding Transylvanian questions as a public matter, 
show indifference for your own person, so that some small hope might give 
them inducement to a prolongation. Let not your person be an obstacle, and 
we might get them to jump at everything which you think good." 

^ Stepney to Harley, July 2, Arch. Rak. II., vol. iii. pp. 106-110. 

" Bercsenyi gave us to understand that he had roundly declared to Count 
Wratislaw that he was not capable of betraying his country and acting against 
his honour and conscience for any particular consideration whatsoever." And 
later in the same letter: "Bercsenyi likewise confessed to us that Count 
Wratislaw would have tampered with him by offering secretly to transact some 
points without communicating with us, but that private insinuation too was 
flatly rejected, Count Bercsenyi having further declared that this being the 


As if to cut off all possibility of a retreat, Bercsenyi 
suggested on the same day to the Transylvanians 
to put in a protestation against their non-admittance, 
reminding the Hungarians of their alliance. 

On the next day (June 30) Wratislaw met the 
Prince. They had known each other in former 
years. The presence of the Princess facilitated 
their intercourse. Wratislaw remained two days, 
and there was ample time to discuss all sides and 
points of the question. He had not come empty- 
handed. He declared to Rakoczi most positively 
that the Emperor would never allow him to remain 
in possession of Transylvania, but he offered him 
instead the principality of Leuchtenberg on the 
Rhine, with a seat and a vote in the German Diet, 
and either the Marquisate of Burgau or the Lordship 
of Podiebrad in Bohemia in addition. Besides, he 
was to keep all his vast estates in Hungary. On 
the other side was the final ruin of himself and his 
house, as the example of Tokoli and, more recently, 
that of the Elector of Bavaria proved. It was only 
a few years ago that Wratislaw had been the bearer 
of similar offers from the Emperor to the latter to 
detach him from the French alliance. He had 
rejected them, and now was a fugitive thrown on the 
mercy of the French King. But offers and threats 
were alike unavailing. Rakoczi recognized that a 
German dukedom might be a safer and more 

first time the Hungarian nation was honoured by the appearance of a solemn 
mediation in their behah", they were resolved to take no step whereby they 
might be in danger of forfeiting it." 



advantageous possession than the elective throne of 
Transylvania, but declared that he had taken up 
arms not for the aggrandizement of his house but 
for the liberty of his nation, to which he felt more 
than ever bound after the marks of confidence he 
had received from it. Taking up the cue suggested 
by Bercsenyi, he declared further that he did not 
demand Transylvania for himself, but would be 
contented if the Emperor would observe the treaty 
concluded with Apaffy, and let the country proceed 
to a new free election. 

Parting from Ersek Ujvar, where the interview 
had taken place, Wratislaw uttered those prophetic 
words which Rakoczi had ample occasion to re- 
member many years thereafter. Well, my Prince, 
you are putting your faith in France, which is the 
hospital of princes who have come to grief through 
her broken pledges and promises. You will increase 
their number and die there." A few days after him 
Princess Rakoczi, whose further stay had ceased to 
be of interest to the Austrian Court, departed for 
Carlsbad, never to see either Hungary or her 
children again. The latter were kept in Vienna, 
and evidently looked upon as hostages ; for neither 
would the Emperor allow the Princess to take them 
with her on her visit to her husband, nor later 
grant their father's wish that they should be sent 
for their education to England or Holland.^ 

1 I have been so far unable to discover in the archives of Vienna 
Wratislaw's own version of the interview. It is possible that he only gave a 
verbal account to the Emperor and his colleagues, although I think it more 


The failure of Wratislaw's mission settled the 
matter. Still the negotiations were continued, as 
both sides wished to conciliate the mediators. 
There can be no doubt that in this game the 
Hungarians played their cards with better success 
than the Austrians, and succeeded to throw all the 
odium of the rupture on their adversaries. 

Two obstacles blocked the progress of the 
negotiations — the impending expiration of the 
armistice, and the question of the admission of 
the Transylvanian deputies. Seldom have men 
worked with such tenacity and under such adverse 
circumstances for a purpose than did Stepney, 
Rechteren, and Bruyninx for the removal of those 
stumbling-stones. During that whole month of 
July they were continually on the move, now in 
Nagyszombat, then in Vienna, back to Nagys- 
zombat, from there to Szered and Sempte, and 

likely that a report in writing was made, and is now slumbering in one of 
the private archives in Austria. Our sources for the interview are Rakoczi's 
own account in his Memoirs and Stepney's letter to Harley. They are 
contradictory, for whereas Stepney writes on July 13 that " Rakoczi was 
extremely dissatisfied with Wratislaw, who flatly declared that the Emperor 
would sooner admit his meanest subject to the princely dignity of Transylvania 
than allow it to him," and on the 23rd "that Wratislaw's impertinent treat- 
ment of Rakoczi at Ersek Ujvar was one of the main causes of the rupture," 
there is no trace of any personal offence or resentment in Rakoczi's account. 
He even says that Wratislaw was much impressed by his (the Prince's) 
arguments, and on his return to Vienna spoke so favourably of him that his 
own loyalty was suspected. It is true that Rakoczi wrote about twenty-five 
years after the event ; still, if Wratislaw's manner had really been so 
impertinent, it is not likely he would have forgotten it. Stepney wrote on 
the spot, but more from indirect than direct information. Between the 30th 
of June (date of interview) and the 13th of July he had not seen Rakoczi 
himself, and on July 23 everybody was under the impression of the bitter- 
ness engendered by the rupture of the negotiations. On the 2nd of July 
Stepney had seen Wratislaw just returning from Ersek Ujvar and seeming 
well pleased with his expedition. Besides, Stepney hated Wratislaw. 


finally back again in Vienna, appealing to the 
Emperor and to Rakoczi, discussing with Salm and 
Wratislaw on one side, Bercsenyi, Kajali, Gerhard, 
and the Transylvanians on the other, exchanging 
State papers with the Cardinal of Lorraine and the 
kurucz commission, and writing the history of their 
efforts to their Governments. 

At their urgent request the Emperor had con- 
sented to a prolongation of the armistice, but for 
twelve days only. Further extension was made 
dependent on the Hungarians waiving their 
demands with regard to Transylvania. 

To find a form for admitting the three gentle- 
men from that country without prejudice or offence 
to either side became now the chief endeavour of 
the mediators. They thought that they had dis- 
covered a chance of succeeding when Rakoczi con- 
sented to eliminate his person from the question and 
let the Transylvanians go to the conference without 
his credentials, merely as deputies of the Confederate 
Estates of their country. But the Austrian Ministers 
would not hear of receiving them in this capacity, 
and insisted that by consenting to do so they would 
indirectly recognize the election of Rakoczi.-^ Their 
arguments were far from being irrefutable, and lay 
open to the objection that a few weeks ago they 
had recognized the Hungarian Confederacy, and 
that without prejudice to the ultimate issue a similar 
concession might be made to the Transylvanians. 

1 Wratislaw to the mediators, July 4, Arch. Rak. II., vol. iii. p. 115. 


But since the conclusion of the armistice Marl- 
borough had won the victory of Ramillies,^ and the 
elation it had produced in Vienna had influenced 
the dispositions with regard to the Hungarian 
negotiations.^ The utmost they would concede was 
to admit the three deputies as the representatives 
of those of their countrymen who had allied them- 
selves with the Hungarians. 

The more unbending the Austrian Ministers 
became, the more the kurucz leaders began to 
display a spirit of conciliation. Submission on the 
point of Transylvania without its own consent they 
declared to be impossible. They had concluded an 
alliance with the Transylvanian Confederacy ; they 
could not now admit that it did not exist without 
basely abandoning their allies. But they were 
desirous of peace ; let them have time and they 
would see what they could do. Already Rakoczi had 
facilitated matters by withdrawing his credentials ; 
now he assured the mediators that he would call 
another diet to Szecsen in order to dissolve, if 
possible, the alliance with the Transylvanians and 
induce the latter to accept the Emperor's govern- 
ment.^ But the essential thing was to prolong the 
armistice, and the best way to do it would be to let 

^ May 23, 1706. 

2 Stepney to Harley, June 15, 26, and July 20, ibid. pp. 84, 93, and 
155. Prince Salm went even so far as to declare to Stepney that the 
recognition of the Hungarian confederacy had merely crept into the armistice 
by an error committed in haste {ibid. p. 133). The real truth appears from 
the Emperor's letter cited above. 

3 Arch. Rak. II., vol. iii. pp. 168 and 182. 


it run indefinitely until renounced by a fortnight's 

Whatever may have been the intention of the 
kurucz leaders as to final peace, there can be no 
doubt about their sincerity as to the extension of 
the truce. It was harvest time, and as their armies 
were composed, this was not a convenient season 
for resuming operations.^ Different were the 
tendencies and considerations which prevailed on 
the Austrian side. There great expectations were 
entertained from the proposed junction of Starhem- 
berg's and Rabutin's forces ; besides, the latter was 
clamouring that his stores were exhausted and his 
army menaced with utter ruin if shut up any longer 
in Transylvania. History proves that military 
considerations which have prompted warlike de- 
cisions, or have been alleged for them, have often 
been fallacious. It has been so in modern times ; 
it was so in Vienna in 1706. Rabutin's ensuing 
campaign was a disastrous failure, and his army at 
its end in a worse plight than if it had remained in 
its quarters in Transylvania.^ But impatience and 
irritation reigned amongst the Emperor's advisers, 
and unless the Hungarians yielded on the main 
point, the sooner a crushing blow was dealt to them 
the better. 

The final decision was taken in two Cabinet 
Councils on the nth and i6th of July. The medi- 

1 Arch. Rak. /., vol. i. p. 574 ; Rakoczi to Karolyi : *' I own I sjiould 
have wished the prolongation of the armistice because of the harvest." 

2 Feldziige des Prinzen Eugen^ vol. viii. pp. 442-449. 


ators were informed that the Emperor would not 
allow any alteration of the status of Transylvania as 
established by the Peace of Carlowitz, and unless the 
Hungarians would yield all pretensions on that point 
the armistice would not be prolonged. At the same 
time, however, the attempt to come to a direct 
understanding with Rakoczi was once more renewed. 
The messenger selected for this last appeal was his 
sister, the Countess of Aspremont. She arrived in 
Ersek Ujvar on the very day of the last Cabinet 
Council, and was to repeat to her brother all the 
offers his wife and Wratislaw had brought before 
her. Moreover, she was to tell him that the 
Emperor had given his powers in blank, which he 
might fill according to his desire with anything but 
Transylvania. Rakoczi had always been very fond 
of his sister, and received her with heartfelt joy. 
But now no more than before would he accept any 
private arrangement. She stayed five days with 
her brother, whom she was never to see again, and 
then returned to Vienna together with the mediators. 
There patents were already affixed on all the church 
doors notifying the people that the armistice was 
coming to an end, and warning them to take care of 
their goods outside the city walls. 

With the expiration of the armistice another of the 
Court's confidential messengers returned to Vienna. 
This was Count Kery, the Emperor's Hungarian 
Master of the Horse. He was married to Bercsenyi's 
stepdaughter, but was as loyal to the Emperor as 


Palatine Esterhazy or General Palffy. He had spent 
nearly four weeks with his wife in Nagyszombat, 
Trencsen, and Brunocz, on avisit to his mother-in-law, 
and had been in constant intercourse with Bercsenyi, 
but his endeavours proved as vain as all the others. 

Negotiations had come to an end. On receipt 
of the Court's final reply the Hungarian commis- 
sioners drew up a protest, in which they de- 
fended their proceeding, invoked the mediators' own 
testimony for their sincerity and love of peace, and 
laid the blame of the rupture on the tyrannical 
desires of their adversaries.-^ For the same purpose 
Rakoczi addressed a flaming manifesto to the nation ^ 
and at the same time wrote to Queen Anne, the 
Government of the Netherlands,^ and the Duke of 
Marlborough, thanking them for their mediation 
and invoking their future interest. In his letter to 
the Duke he pathetically observes that his glorious 
victories won on another field for the liberty of 
Europe seem destined to crush that of Hungary. 
And as a further appeal to the public opinion of 
mankind he caused the rejoinder to the Austrian 
reply of June 28, which for lack of time the 
Hungarians could not bring in at the Congress, to 
be printed and published in book form, copies of 
which were sent to all the powers of Europe.* 

^ For its text see Histoire des Rivolutions, vol. i. pp. 430-435. 

2 It was published in Latin and Hungarian. For the former text see 
Arch. Rak. 11. , vol. iii. pp. 196-199. 

3 Histoire des Revolutions^ vol. i. pp. 436-438 ; to Marlborough, Arch. 
Rak. II. , vol. iii. p. i . 

^ Histoire des Revolutions^ vol. ii. pp. 459-504, Veracius Constantius. 




The haggling over words and forms, the refusal 
to prolong the armistice, perhaps also the constant 
endeavours to discard their services had turned the 
mediators against the Court of Austria. None more 
so than Stepney. As an Englishman and a Pro- 
testant he sympathized with a nation which un- 
doubtedly was struggling for liberty, and five-sixths 
of whom he supposed to belong to his creed. 
Rakoczi s personality, his public aims, his private 
disinterestedness had strongly impressed him. Of 
Bercsenyi, his pride, his spirit of cavil, his desire to 
raise obstacles, his evasions and delays, he and his 
colleagues had often complained, but never so bitterly 
as they did now of Salm-*^ and Wratislaw. They 
had no doubt of the Emperor's wish for peace with 
his subjects, but they bewailed that instead of follow- 
ing his own inclination and judgment he submitted 
to the violent counsels of his Ministers and Generals. 
And they expressed their views and feelings not 
only in private despatches to their Governments, 
but in open speeches to the kurucz leaders and the 
Emperor himself. Taking leave from the former, 
they told them to make their protestation strong and 
to be of good cheer, for they had a just cause,^ and 
having asked and obtained an audience from the 

^ Charles Theodor, Prince Salm, Field-marshal, Obersthofmeister and 
President of the Cabinet Council, was during the first four years of Emperor 
Josefs reign his most influential Minister. He hated France and everything 
French ; at the same time he was always in antagonism to Prince Eugen, and 
still more to Wratislaw. His violent and arrogant temper made him lose the 
favour of the Emperor. He retired in 1709, and died in 17 10. 

2 Bercsenyi to Rakoczi, Arch. Rak. /., vol. v. pp. 1 61-162, and Bercsenyi 
to Karolyi, Rakoczi Tar, vol. ii. pp. 133-136. 


Emperor in order to give him a formal account of 
their mission, they attributed its failure frankly 
to his Ministers and Generals, and told him that the 
Hungarians had never been so well disposed for 
peace, that Rakoczi had dissociated himself from the 
Transylvanian question, that Bercsenyi had shown 
the utmost mortification at the rupture, that the other 
Hungarian commissioners lamented it with tears in 
their eyes, and that nothing had been wanting but 
a little more time and moderation on the Austrian 
side/ Rechteren, whose mission had only been 
temporary, then returned home, and Stepney asked 
for his recall, which was granted by the British 
Government with all tokens of approval of his 
services, and he transferred to The Hague. 

Stepney s address to the Emperor found its way 
into the press,^ and was read all over Europe. 
Nowhere did it evoke a more sympathetic echo than 
in the countries of the Emperor s allies,^ and morti- 
fying were the reproaches to which Counts Gallas 
and Goess had to listen in London and at The 
Hague. There the discontent was the greater, as 
the Austrians withdrew four regiments from the 
army on the Rhine to send them to Hungary. 
English and Dutch complained that the burthen of 
the great war from the frontier of Alsace to that of 

1 For the text of the address see Arch. Rak. II., vol. iii. pp. 181-182. 

2 It appeared first in Holland, then in the Daily Courant of London, 
August 28, 1706, and was reprinted in the German, Swiss, and Italian 

3 Hoffmann, the Emperor's resident in London, wrote, September 10, 
that it had made the worst impression in the world. — Vienna Haus-, Hof- und 





Belgium was thus thrown on their shoulders. The 
complaints of the Netherlands, where a considerable 
party had already had enough of the whole war/ were 
particularly bitter, and found vent in a note which 
the States-General sent to Vienna, and which for 
acerbity of language has seldom been equalled in 
correspondence between friendly and allied powers.^ 
Very different was the impression Rakoczi's letter 
made,^ and the answers they received. Queen 
Anne, addressing him in her reply as ''my cousin," 
wrote that she had been much gratified to hear 
of his desire for peace, that she would gladly 
renew her efforts, and assured him of her affection 
and goodwill for Hungary.^ The States-General 
wrote in the same sense,^ and in both countries the 
interest and sympathy for Hungary, which had 
already been on the wane, were rekindled. 

No Hungarian can read the history of those days 
without a feeling of gratitude for the manly and 
generous sympathies of Stepney. But an im- 
partial historian will hardly subscribe to his statement 
that with a little more time and a little more modera- 
tion on the Austrian side his efforts for peace would 
have succeeded. It is not likely that this would 
have been the case, even if the Austrians had pro- 
longed the armistice and stickled less about the 
designation of the Transylvanian deputies. The 

1 Harley to Stepney, August 27, Arch. Rak. 11. , vol. iii. p. 216. 

2 For its text see ibid. pp. 203-210. 

3 Harley told Gallas that Rakoczi's letter to the Queen was a mighty fine 
one. 4 For its text see ibid. pp. 253-254. 

5 For its text see Histoire des Revolutions, vol. i. pp. 440-441. 


real issue lay not in a name but in the possession 
of a country. Rakoczi and Bercsenyi knew this full 
well. What they were anxious to avoid was that 
the break should occur over anything which might 
seem a personal question, and what they deliberated 
over was whether to break now on the point in 
dispute or, yielding on it, to leave the rupture to 
some future issue.^ 

Strange as it might seem to foreign readers that 
Hungarian patriots should have wanted to split 
their country in two and seen their political ideal 
in the erection of a hybrid principality, Rakoczi and 
his kurucz followers did not see the question in this 
light. They were the sons and grandsons of the men 
who had fought under Bocskay, Bethlen, and George 
Rakoczi, and the traditions which had developed in 
those days were alive in them. And their views 
and feelings were shared by labancz nobles who 
otherwise were as loyal to their Emperor King as 
Salm and Wratislaw themselves. The peace 
negotiations had hardly been broken off when 
Palatine Esterhazy, Chief Justice Erdody, Nicholas 
Palffy, and other Hungarians residing in Vienna 
petitioned the Emperor to resume them, and re- 

1 See Bercsenyi's letter of June 29 cited above, pp. 319, 320. A week 
later, July 6, he wrote to Rakoczi : " It is impossible to hope for an assur- 
ance de 71011 praejudicanda electione (without prejudice to the election), and it 
would not be advisable to move this question before setting the commission 
in activity (the Hungarians having refused to accept the Imperial reply) and 
then suffer a denial ... or to break on it." — Arch. Rak. /., vol. v. p. 150. 

And again on July 15: "In the meanwhile we may also get your 
answer, whether giving way on the name as Estates we had better leave the 
rupture of the treaty to something else or break off now on this." — Ibid. 
pp. i6o-i6i. Compare also his letter of the next day, ibid. p. 163. 


commended that Transylvania be joined to Hungary 
as a vassal state, but its government left to an 
elective prince as it had been before.^ Besides, the 
issue before Rakoczi was not the simple one between 
reunion and separation. The Austrians had not re- 
incorporated the province into the mother-country, 
but simply established their own rule therein. To 
the Transylvanian nobles the glorious conquests 
of the Turkish war had so far only brought a 
diminution of freedom and importance. There 
was a shadowy civil government in which they had 
a share, but real power was exercised by the 
Emperor s military commanders, Caraffa and, after 
him, Rabutin. Their own views are curiously 
reflected in a political pamphlet which one of them. 
Count Niclas Bethlen, wrote at the time. He pro- 
posed that for the pacification of both countries 
Rakoczi should receive a duchy in the German 
Empire in exchange for his Hungarian possessions, 
that these should be given to Bercsenyi, together with 
the office of Palatine, and that the Emperor himself 
should select a prince for Transylvania among the 
ruling Protestant houses of Germany, marry him 
to an archduchess, and that he should be granted a 
hereditary title, but pay an annual tribute to the 
King of Hungary and the Sultan.^ 

1 Stepney to Harley, August 14, Arch. Rak. II., vol. iii. p. 192, and 
more in detail Miller, Epistolarum, vol. ii. pp. 294-299. 

2 Bethlen's pamphlet nearly cost him his head. It was destined for the 
representatives of the Protestant powers in Vienna, but fell into Rabutin's 
hands, who had its author arrested and sentenced to death. The sentence 
was, however, not executed. 


That the Emperor should not have yielded was 
perfectly natural. He was fighting France for 
Spain, Belgium, Naples, and Lombardy, but for him 
and his house all the issues involved in the great 
war were of minor importance when compared to 
Transylvania. As King of Hungary he was asked 
to consent to the loss of a province for the express 
purpose that its new master should control and 
keep in check his government of the rest. 

Underlying all the avowed considerations there 
was a still greater one which entered into the 
question. The House of Habsburg then stood 
upon two lives. Although there was no reason to 
suppose that the two princes, Josef and Charles, 
who both were under thirty, would both die without 
male issue, the contingency entered into all political 
combinations of the day. Friends and foes of the 
hereditary succession could alike have no doubt that 
in such a case the right of election would revert to 
the nation, and the possibility was that the then 
ruling prince of Transylvania would be the most 
likely candidate for the throne. 

Rakoczi had this point clearly before his mind. 
He would be blind indeed," so he wrote,^ who 
could not see why the House of Austria bases its 
right to Transylvania on conquest and desires to 
make the right of arms the foundation of its rule 
there. It is easy to see why some of their Ministers 
would rather consent to the amputation of their 

1 To Okolicsanyi, Dec. 26, 1706, Arch. Rak. /., vol. i. pp. 449-450. 


arm than sign its cession. They evidently have 
the extinction of the male line in view, and wish 
also that in that event the heirs in the female line 
should hold with Transylvania the reins of Hungary 
in their hands. But they are mistaken if they 
think that these subtleties are only understood by 
them. For this reason — so help me God — and for 
no other would I rather advise my country to 
continue the war than consent to that which will 
make it weep for ever hereafter." 

The previsions thus floating in the minds of men 
were realized seventeen years later, and without 
entering too far into conjecture, it may safely be 
asserted that the fundamental law — known as the 
pragmatic sanction — which assured the succession 
of Maria Theresa, and for the first time laid down 
the principle of a community of interests between 
Austria and Hungary, would hardly have been 
passed had Rakoczi reigned in Kolozsvar at the 

In the light of subsequent events Rakoczi's 
decision is deeply to be regretted. It may be 
safely asserted that the development of Hungary 
would have been very different had peace been 
concluded at Nagyszombat in 1706 instead of five 
years later in Szathmar. After long and severe 
oppression, which had threatened her national 
existence, Hungary had risen to life again. Her 
Austrian rulers had learned one lesson — not that 
they had been wrong, for that they did not admit — 


nor that Hungary was too strong for them, for that 
had not been proven — but that their discontent 
weakened their own power and lessened their 
influence amongst the nations of Europe. This 
lesson was not forgotten during the succeeding 
reigns, but it might have borne richer fruit had 
Hungary herself been left in better condition to 
profit by it. At the end of the war the country 
was not only materially ruined, but its life-springs 
seemed benumbed and impaired. The war had 
lasted eight years, it had been fought on Hungarian 
soil, it had ended in defeat. The reaction from the 
high-strung efforts was inevitable and deep, and a 
torpor spread over the nation which lasted for well- 
nigh three generations. 

16°Lon^.E.of Gr. 20° ■24° I 

I^ondon. Haardllaii & Co. 


Althan, Count, 301 

Ampringen, John Casper, appointed 

Governor of Hungary, 54 ; his 

resignation, 56 
Andrassy, George, 127 
Andrassy, Matthew, 127 
Andrassy, Nicholas, 127 
Andrassy, Paul, 127, 296 
Andrassy, Stephen, 127 
Anne, Princess (afterwards Queen), 

4, 240, 328, 331 
Apaffy, Michael, 35, 37, 46, 77 
Arpad, House of, 3 
Aspremont, Count Ferdinand Gobert, 

marriage with Juliana Rakoczi, 


Aspremont, Countess of, mission to 

Rakoczi, 327 
Auersperg, Count, 123, 162 
Austria, House of, 3, 42, 202, 206, 

289, 305, 334 

Badinyi, Rakoczi's preceptor, S2 n. 

Bajmocz, surrender of, 198 

Balassa, Adam, 129 

Balogh, Adam, 190 

Balogh, Stephen, his raid round 
Vienna, 299 

Barkoczy, Francis, 130 

Basta, General, 17 

Bathory, Gabriel, 24 ; his assassina- 
tion, 25 

Bathory, Sigismund, 17 

Bathory, Sophia, 39 

Batthany, Count, 70 n., 168 

Belgiojoso, 19 

Benko, Lieutenant, routed by 
Heister, 179 

Bercsenyi, Count Nicholas, friendship 
with Rakoczi, 93 ; forms nucleus 
of revolution, 95; flight, 100; 

narrow escape from capture, 10 1 ; 
his efforts* in Poland, 102; at- 
tempted abduction, 103 ; raises 
troops and joins insurgents, 
113; defeats Servians, 118; 
accident to, 126; reward offered 
for capture, 136 ; defeats 
Austrians, 139 ; offered Hun- 
garian Chancellorship, 1 54 ; at 
Gyongyos Conference, 173 ; de- 
feats General Ritschan, 192 ; 
defeated at Nagyszombat, 230 
sq^. ; head of Peace Commis- 
sion, 281 ; offer of Palatinate, 
286 ; refuses to sign armistice, 
303 ; interview with Wratislaw, 
319 j-^^. 

Bercsenyi, Countess, prisoner in 

Vienna, 136 ; rejoins her 

husband, 155 
Berthoty, Francis, 129 
Besztercze, Diet of (1620), 30 
Bethlen, Count Nicholas, his political 

pamphlet, 333 
Bethlen Gabor. See Bethlen, 

Bethlen, Gabriel, 19, 25, 30 
Bezeredy, Emerich, 190, 278 
Bezeredy, John, 158 
Blomberg, Colonel, 159 
Bocskay, Stephen, 15, 19, 20, 21, 24 
Bokros, 158 
Bonnac, no, in, 128 
Borbely, 125, 126 

Bottjan, Colonel, 136, 138, 224, 
234, 249, 296 ; joins Rakoczi, 
141 ; takes Simonytorna, 276 

Bremer, 229 

Bruyninx, Hamel, Dutch envoy, 156, 
170; confidential visit to Berc- 
senyi, 172, 201 ; at Conference 

7 Z 


of Selmecz, 212 ; at Conference 
of Nagyszombat, 282, 323 

Buccellini, Chancellor, 97 134, 
149, 170 

Buday, Stephen, 119, 125 

Bulyowski, Daniel, 128 

Calvin, 11 

Caprera, Count, 61 

Caraffa, General, 81, 117 ; holds 

bloody assizes atEperjes (1687), 

66, 67 

Carlowitz, Peace of, 64, 76, 314 

Castaldo, General, 16 

Chernel, 158 

Corbelli, General, 95 n. 

Croatia, counter rising in, 169 

Csaky, Count Stephen, 115, 116, 

119, 138, 296 
Czelder, Orban, 120, 129 
Czernin, Count, his loan to Austria, 

Cziraky, 158 
Czobor, Count, 232 

Deak, Colonel, 126, 161 

Debreczen, occupation of, by insur- 
gents, 117 

Des Alleurs, Comte, French envoy, 
223, 227, 242, 282 n.-y at battle 
of Zsibo, 272 

Dietrichstein, Prince, 69 ; quoted, 
150 n. 

Dobo, defence of Eger by, 7 
Dobozy, Stephen, 117 
Domokos, Francis, 190 
Du Heron, Marquis, 102 sqq, 
Durnkrut, 2 1 1 

Ebeczky, Thomas, 141, 278 
Ebeczky, Stephen, 140, 231 
Eckstein, 229 

Eger, defence of, by Dobo, 7 ; siege 
of, 187 

Eperjes, bloody assizes at, 66 ; sur- 
render of, 212 
Erdody, Chief Justice, 332 
Ersek Ujvar, surrender of, 212 
Esterhazy, Anthony, 138, 180, 191, 

231, 252 
Esterhazy, Count Francis, 225 n. 
Esterhazy, Daniel, 158, 237, 249; 
defeated by Heister, i8o 

Esterhazy, Nicholas, 29 

Esterhazy, Palatine, 66, 76, 134, 332 

Esze, Thomas, 120 

Eugene, Prince, 124, 134, 135, 144, 

1 70 ; warns Leopold of his 

danger, 162 

Ferdinand I., 4, 6, 8, 12 
Ferdinand II., 22, 23, 25, 30 
Ferdinand III., 22, 25, 27 
Fierville, M. de, French envoy, 222, 

Fondi, Prince of (Count Mansfeld), 
124, 134, 149, 170 

Forgach, Count, 54, 138, 251, 296 ; 
joins Rakoczi, 182 sqq. ; de- 
feated by Heister, 196; criticized 
at Zsibo, 273 

Frangipani, in uprising of 1670, 48 

Frangipani, Christopher, 2 ; quoted, 

Friar George, his assassination, 16 

Galgocz, taken by Karolyi, 140 
Gallas, Count, Imperial Minister in 

London, 240, 317 n.^ 330 
Gerhard, Senator, 282 
Glockelsperg, Baron, 121, 130, 249 ; 

surrenders Szathmar, 234 
Goess, Count, Imperial Minister at 

The Hague, 240 n.^ 330 
Gombos, Emerich, 124, 130 
Guthy, 200 

Gyongyos, conference at, 173, 174, 

Gyiirky, Adam, 128 

Habsburg, House of, 5, 19, 334 
Harrach, Count, 134, 149, 170 
Hartel, Captain, 229 
Heinsius, Grand Pensioner, and for- 
eign mediation, 1 70 
Heister, Count Seigbert, commands 
new Austrian army corps, 167 ; 
in campaign of 1704, 178 sqq., 
224 sqq. ; deprived of his com- 
mand, 238 
Heister, Hannibal, 178, 278, 296 
Herberstein, Colonel, 178, 225, 295 
Herbeville, Count, 248 ; defeats 
Hungarians at Pudmericz, '253 ; 
wins battle of Zsibo^ 272 



Hermann, Margrave of Baden, 64, 
67, 69 

Hesse Darmstadt, House of, 88 

Hesse Rheinfels, House of, 88 

Hocher, John Paul, 52, 58 

Homonnay, Count, 6^ n. 

Horvath, George, Bercsenyi's Court- 
Marshal, 162 

Hungary, struggle with feudal lords, 
2; rising of 15 14, 3; internal 
division, 4 ; civil war, 4 ; 
wars with Turkey, 6 n., y ; 
extension of frontiers, 7 ; in- 
fluence of foreigners, 10, 11 ; 
Protestants in, 10, 11, 14; 
Catholic clergy in, 12, 13 ; 
Article XXH., 14; mutiny of 
Hajducks, 15; Peace of 1606, 
21 ; Thirty Years' War, 22 ; 
religious liberty, 28 ; battle of 
St. Gotthard, 37 ; Wesselenyi 
Nadasdy conspiracy, 43 ; revolt 
of 1670, 48 ; internecine 
struggles, 57 ; power of Turkey 
crushed, 62 ; bloody assizes at 
Eperjes (1687), 66; reconstruc- 
tion of, 71 ; uprising of 1703- 
171 1, III ; occupation of Deb- 
reczen, 117; anxiety in Vienna, 
133 ; defeat of Austrian army, 
1 39 ; Austrian territory invaded, 
142 ; Austrian overtures, 146 ; 
Rakoczi's manifesto ( 1 704), 1 48 ; 
rout of the Servians, 161 ; 
foreign mediation, 170, 172; 
new overtures, 241 ; Diet of 
Szecsen, 258 sqc^. ; Confederacy 
established, 265 ; armistice, 
303 ; negotiations for peace, 

Hunyadi, Matthias, 3 
Huyn, Count, his denouncement of 
Servian troops, 181 

Illeshazy, Count, 288 
Illeshazy, Stephen, trial of, 13, 14 
Ilosvay, Colonel Emerich, 161, 231 
Isabella, Queen, 16 

Jabloncza, Austrians defeated at pass 

of, 192, 193 
Jeszensky, his mission to Hungarian 

leaders, 146, 154 

Joerger, Count, 134 

Joseph, King, 171, 172, 184 ; his 

mediation refused, 153 ; succeeds 

Leopold, 246 

Karolyi, Baron, iii, 159; joins 
insurgents, 129-131 ; takes 
Galgocz and Sempte, 140, 141 , 
raids before Vienna, 179, 193; 
235 ; victory at St. Gotthard, 
198 ; defeated by Heister, 237 ; 
at Zsibo, 273 

Karolyi, Baroness, 124, 125 

Kassa, fort, 211 

Kaunitz, Count, 124, 134, 170, 

171, 241 
Kemeny, John, 35 
Kery, Count, 327 
Kisfaludy, Lieutenant, 278 
Kohary, Count Stephen, 65 n.y 76, 


Kollonics, Cardinal, 70, 214; head 
of Reform Commission, 72, 73 ; 
guardian of the young Rakoczis, 
82 sgg'. 

Komaromy, George, 117 

Kopp, General, 58 

Koronczo, Austrian victory at, 196 

Korossy, Rakoczi's valet, 82 n. 

Koszeg stormed, 278 

Kreutz, General, 161 

Kyba, Colonel, 126, 1 36 

Lamberg, Count Sigismund, 212, 288 

Lehmann, Captain, 99 

Leopold L, I, 36, 63 ; historical 
sketch, 40 s^^ ; army and 
finances, 163 sg^. ; on foreign 
mediation, 174 ^. ; death, 245 

Leopoldstadt, relief of, 233 

Leslie, Count, foreign adventurer, 38 

Leva, Ocskay defeated at, 138; 
retaken, 140 

Lewis II., at battle of Mohacs, 2 n. 

Lewis XIV., 96 s^g. ; his intentions re- 
garding Hungary, 45 ; subsidizes 
uprising, 128, 268 ; assurances 
of, 204 

Liechtenstein, Prince Adam, 255 
Limprecht, Baron, 229 
Linz, Peace of, 28, 152, 259 
Lipotvar, siege of, 223 ; relief of, 


Lobkowitz, Prince, 43, 51 
Loczy, Lieutenant, routed by Heister, 

Loffelholz, General, 122 
Longueval, his betrayal of Rakoczi, 

96 ; made a baron, 99 
Lorenzo, Venetian envoy, 2 
Lorraine, House of, 147, 288 
Lowenburg, Count, 119, 124, 125; 

surrenders Szathmar, 234 

Mansfeld, Count (Prince of Fondi), 

124, 134, 149, 170 
Marcin, Marshall, 204 
Mariassy, Nicholas, 129 
Martinuzzi, Cardinal (Friar George), 

assassination of, 16 
Matthias, King, 2, 4, 20, 22 
Matyasowski, Chancellor, 134 
Maximilian IL, policy of, 8, 9, 12, 


Melith, Baron Paul, 119, 125 

Mikes, Michael, 132 

Miskolcz, Hungarian Assembly at, 

287 sqq. 
Mohacs, battle of, 2 n. 
Monasterli, General, 161 
Montecucoli, Lieutenant - Colonel , 

130, 211 

Munkacs, defended by Helena Zrinyi, 
81 ; surrendered to Rakoczi, 

Nadasdy, Francis, 44 ; his execution 

(1671), 49 
Nagyszombat, battle of, 230 ; peace 

conference at, 281 
Nehem, Baron, 295 
Nigrelli, Marquis, no, 117, 130 
Nikolsburg, Peace of, 26 
Nyitra, fortress, surrender of, 198 ; 

conference at, 303 sqq. 
Nymwegen, Peace of, 59, 63 

Ocskay, Ladislau, 125, 252, 276; 
career of, 113 sqq. ; defeated at 
Leva, 138; retakes Leva, 140; 
at Nagyszombat, 231 

Oettingen, Count Wolfgang Waller- 
stein, 134, 149 

Okolicsany, Michael, 157 

Oliva, Peace of, 36 

Onody, 231 

Oppenheimer, Austrian Court Jew, 

Oppersdorf, Count, 142 
Ordody, 158 
Orlay, 200 

Orosz, Paul, 1 19, 125, 21 1 
Osnabruck, Cardinal Archbishop of, 

Ottlyk, George, Rakoczi's Court- 
Marshal, 162 

Palffy, Count John, Banus of Croatia, 

168, 276, 295 
Palffy, Bishop, 54, 59 
Palffy, Nicholas, 168, 332 
Papa, fort, 191, 277 
Papay, Janos, 119 
Pazman, Cardinal, 22 
Pazmandy, 158 
Pekry, Lawrence, 132 
Platthy, Alexander, 262, 292 
Pongracz, Baron Caspar, 140 
Pongracz, Baron Janos, 129 
Potocki, Palatine of Kiow, 109, in 
Pozsony, Austrian Peace Commission 

at, 283, 315 sqq. 
Pudmericz, battle of, 253 
Pyber, Bishop, 146, 174, 235 


Rabatta, General, 178 ; defeated by 

Karolyi, 198 
Rabutin, Count John de, 120, 132, 

251, 274 
Radics, Andrew, 129 
Radvanszky, John, 263 
Radvanszky, Lieutenant, 141 
Rakoczi, Francis, Prince of Transyl- 
vania, 47 ; revolt and trial, 

Rakoczi IL, Francis, birth (1676), i ; 
early childhood, 79 sqq. ; educa- 
tion, 82 sqq. ; marriage, 88 ; 
asks exchange of estates, 93 ; 
friendship with Bercsenyi, 93 ; 
first thoughts of a rising, 95 ; 
letter to Lewis XIV., 96 ; his 
betrayal and flight, 96 sqq. ; in 
hiding in Poland, 105 ; urged to 
head rebellion, 109, no; his 
return to Hungary, in.; first 
successes, 117; Turkish sym- 
pathy, 121 ; attempted assassina- 



tion of, 126 ; reward offered for 
capture, 136 ; Austrian over- 
tures to, 146 ; his manifesto of 
1704, 148 ; offered Polish 
crown, 157 ; at Gyongyos con- 
ference, 173 ; demands inter- 
national security, 174; serious 
illness of, 199; elected Prince of 
Transylvania, 200 ; receives 
assurances of Lewis XIV., 204 ; 
defeated at Nagyszombat, 230 
sqq. ; convenes Diet of Szecsen, 
258 ; elected Prince and leader 
of Confederacy, 265 ; defeated 
at Zsibo, 272 ; at Conference of 
Nagyszombat, 307 sqq. ; offered 
Marquisate of Burgau, 310; 
Wratislaw's mission to, 321 sqq. 

Rakoczi I., George, 25, 26, 28 

Rakoczi 11., George, 34; death, 35 

Rakoczi, Juliana, 82 ; marriage, 84 ; 
her mission to Rakoczi, 327 

Rakoczi, Princess, 285 ; prisoner in 
Vienna, 136 ; mission to her 
husband, 307 sqq. ; departure for 
Carlsbad, 322 

Rakoczi, Sigismund, 24 

Rathy, George, Rakoczi's Private 
Secretary, 162 

Rechteren, Count, 280, 282 ; medi- 
ator at Nyitra and Pozsony, 

303 m- 

Rethey, George, 129, 299 

Revays, 129 

Rhaday, Paul, 128, 157 

Ritschan, General, 138, 187; de- 
feated by Bercsenyi, 192, 193 

Rudolf II., 7, II, 12, 17, 18, 20, 

Ryswick, Peace of (1697), 64, 171 n. 

St. Gotthard, Austrians defeated at, 

Salankemen, Margrave of Baden's 

victory at (1691), 64 
Salm, Prince, 134, 215, 247, 255, 


Sandor, Ladislas, 158 
Saponara, Baron, 61 
Scharudy, 229 

Schiller, Captain Leonhard, 103 n. 
Schlick, Count, 137, 255 n., 256; 
deprived of command, 144 

Schwetlick, Captain, 162 
Seilern, Baron, 212 
Selmecz, Peace Conference at, 212 
Sempte, taken by Karolyi, 141 
Semseys, 129 

Sennyei, Baron Stephan, 126, 231 

Sieniawska, Princess Helena Eliza- 
beth Lubomirska, 90, 104 

Sieniawski, Adam, Palatine of Belz, 

Sigray, 158 

Simonytorna, fort, 276 

Soliman, Sultan, 2, 4 

Somogyi, 231 

Soprony, siege of, 278 

Sreter, 231 

Starhemberg, Count Guido, 135, 
250 ; arrested by Rakoczi 48 ; 
supreme command in Hungary, 

Starhemberg, Count Gundacker, 134 
Stepney, George, British Minister at 
Vienna, 201, 227 ; mediation, 
170 sqq. ; at Conference of 
Selmecz, 212 ; at Nagyszombat, 
282 ; at Nyitra and Pozsony, 

303 m- 

Strattmann, Count, 69, 103 
Sutherland, Lord, 280, 282 
Szapary, 158 

Szapolyay, John, 2, 4, 15 
Szathmar, blockaded, 126; capitu- 
lation, 234 
Szava, Baron, 133 

Szechenyi, Paul, Archbishop of 
Kolocsa, 74'; his peace negoti- 
ations, 151 sqq. ; at Gyongyos 
Conference, 174; on Austrian 
barbarities, 192 ; at Selmecz 
Conference, 212; his renewed 
efforts at peace, 241 ; at Diet 
of Szecsen, 261 ; Commissioner 
at Nagyszombat, 281 

Szekelys, the, 17 

Szekes Fehervar, Austrian victory at, 

Szentivanyi, John, Aide-de-Camp to 

Bercsenyi, 162 
Szigetvar, defence of, by Zrinyi, 7 
Szirmay, 254, 286 

Szolnok, fort taken and Servians 

routed, 126 
Sziics, 125 


Teleky, Count Michael, 162 

Thelekessy, Bishop, joins Rakoczi, 
137 ; at Gyongyos Conference, 
174 ; at Diet of Szecsen, 261 

Theresa, Maria, 335 

Thoroczkay, Stephen, 132, 200 

Thurzo, Captain-General, 14 

Tokoli, Emerich, 59, 65, 77, 266 ; 
marriage with Helena Zrinyi 
(1682), 62, 80 

Tolvay, Lieutenant, 141 

Torok, Andrew, 128 

Tramp, General, 187 

Transylvania, bearing on Hungarian 
history, 1 5 ; Rakoczi elected 
Prince of, 200 ; reconquered, 
273 ; separation demanded, 

Traun, Count, Land-Marshal of 
Austria, 144 

Unghvar, Bercsenyi's castle retaken, 

Vaj, Adam, 128, 231 
Vasvar, Peace of, 30, 222 
Verboczi, Palatine, 30 
Veterani, Lieutenant - Colonel, 130, 

Vetes, Baron, 268 

Viard, Colonel, 140, 187, 196 

Viczay, 158 

Vienna, Treaty of, 20, 21, 23 26 ; 
Conference on Hungarian affairs, 

133 m- 

Virmont, Colonel, 187 

Wesselenyi, Francis, 44, 46 
Westphalia, Peace of, 32 
Whitworth, despatches of, 1 50, 1 70, 

Wilson, Colonel Edward, 212 
Wisniowecki, Prince, 109, in 
Wladislaw, King, 3, 4 
Wratislaw, Count, 174 239, 

Peace Commissioner, 281 ; 

mission to Rakoczi, 306, 319 

Zrinyi, defence of Szigetvar by, 7 

Zrinyi Helena, widow of Rakoczi I., 
61 ; marriage with Tokoli, 62, 
80 ; her defence of Munkacs, 
81 ; exile and hardships, 85 

Zrinyi Nicholas, 37, 46 

Zrinyi Peter, 44 ; takes arms with 
Frangipani, 48 ; execution of 
(1671), 49 

Zsibo, battle of, 272 

Zsitva Torok, Peace of (1606), 7, 20, 
21 n. 

Zwingli, II 


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